Five Brevard County Teams Open Playoffs This Week, Cocoa Tigers John Wilkinson Talks To Space Coast Daily
By Bright House Sports / Space Coast Daily // November 10, 2016
Final Regular Season Bright House Top 20 POLL
BREVARD COUNTY • MELBOURNE, FLORIDA – It’s that magical time of the year once again, yes the holiday season is upon us but so is the Florida High School Athletic Association football playoffs.
Five Brevard County teams made it to the second season and four of them will host first round games this Friday night.
The No.1 ranked team in the state of Florida in Class 4A and the team that spent the entire season on top of the Bright House Sports Network’s Top 20 football poll, the Cocoa Tigers, begin their quest for a fourth state title by hosting Bishop Verot on Friday night.
Last season in the first round the Tigers quickly dispatched the Vikings 49-12 before moving onto to throttle Avon Park 51-8.The Tigers eventually fell to Booker T in their ninth straight trip to the state semifinals.
The Tigers are led by Senior dual threat quarterback Bruce Judson who has nearly 1,500 all-purpose yards this season and 18 total touchdowns.
Alan Zlotorzynski of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room spoke with Cocoa Tigers head coach John Wilkinson on Tuesday about his teams season and the playoffs ahead. That interview is below.
The next top ranked team in the BHSN poll is the No.8 Viera Hawks.
Head Coach Kevin Mays’ squad finished the season with a third straight Class 7A District 6 championship. The Hawks will host East River from Orlando on Friday.
Steve Wilson and Orville Susong of the Friday Night Locker Room will be on the call and the game will stream right here on Space Coast Daily.
Viera is looking to advance to Orlando for the second straight season. Last year the Hawks fell short of a title quest, as they lost to Florida perennial football power, St. Thomas Aquinas in the Class 7A state championship game.
No. 9 ranked Palm Bay will also stay home and welcome in the 5-5 Eustis Panthers. Head Coach Dan Burke and his Pirates are making playoff trip number 19 to the second season in the past 20 years.
The Melbourne Central Catholic Hustlers finished the regular season ranked No.12 in the BHSN Top 20 poll.
New coach Stacey Sizemore has yet to taste defeat and with an offense that hasn’t scored less than 37 points in any game this season. The Hustlers are favored as they host Cardinal Mooney from Sarasota in round one at home Friday.
The 8-2 Cougars defeated Cocoa’s first round opponent in Class 4A, Bishop Verot in Week 1 46-15. While Mooney may be a tough opponent, it’s worth pointing out that MCC hasn’t been intimidated by any team throughout the season.
MCC’s has outscored it’s last five opponents 220-63, all of them were teams that were ranked or received votes from writers in the state polls at the time the Hustlers played them.
ABOVE VIDEO: Alan Zlotorzynski talks local, state and national sports every night on Space Coast Daily Sports Shorts.
Alan Zlotorzynski and Zach Clark will be on the call for this contest, which you can follow on Space Coast Daily’s live Facebook page.
The lone team not ranked in the BHSN Top 20 poll is also the team in Brevard County that will travel Friday for their first round matchup, the Merritt Island Mustangs.
If there is one coach and one team in Brevard County that gets overlooked or underestimated it is Jeff McClain and his Mustangs. Until they fell to Palm Bay three weeks ago , Merritt Island had won 30 straight district games and five straight district titles.
The talent is there to pull the upset over the defending Class 5A state champions, the Bishop Moore Hornets but it won’t be easy. Bishop Moore finished the season 9-1, average 43 points per game while only allowing 13. The Hornets boast two very good running backs in C.J. McNeal and Trilion Coles, the son of former NFL star Laveranues Coles. The duo combined to rush for 1,126 yards and 22 touchdowns.
QB Jimmy Batch will need to play a perfect dual threat game and get help from his playmakers. The leg of Florida Gator baseball commit Mason Denaburg may also be called on quite frequently.
ABOVE VIDEO: The Friday Night Locker Room Playoff preview show with Alan Zlotorzynski, Steve Wilson and Orville Susong.
Here are the final regular season Top 20 teams from the Bright House Sports Network.
1. Cocoa (7-1) – USF commit Bruce Judson accounted for four touchdowns in the second quarter as the Tigers rolled Rockledge 56-14.
2. Mainland (9-0) – Bucs carry the area’s highest scoring offense into the 6A state playoffs, which begin with a game against Okeechobee.
3. Apopka (9-0) – Blue Darters first round playoff matchup against Timber Creek marks the seventh postseason meeting with the Wolves since 2006.
4. Seminole (9-0) – ‘Noles, who host Jacksonville Sandalwood this week, haven’t won a playoff game since 2012.
5. Osceola (10-0) – In the last four years, Kowboys have 14 postseason victories, the most of any Central Florida team.
6. Dr. Phillips (8-2) – Panthers set a school record Friday night by forcing eight turnovers in a dominating 48-9 victory against Evans.
7. Bishop Moore (9-1) – Reigning 5A state champions begin defense of their title with a first round home game against Merritt Island.
8. Viera (7-2) – Sean Atkins scored three touchdowns in the first half as the Hawks cruised past Winter Springs 37-0.
9. Palm Bay (9-0) – Pirates blanked Heritage 38-0 for their fifth shutout of the season.
10. Jones (8-1) – Tigers, who only have one postseason win in the last 20 years, begin the playoffs by traveling to Avon Park (9-1).
11. Hagerty (9-1) – Huskies rallied from a 21-7 halftime deficit to top Timber Creek 28-21 and set a school record for victories.
12. Melbourne Central Catholic (9-0) – Hustlers, who have scored at least 37 points in every game, will host Sarasota Cardinal Mooney in the 3A playoffs.
13. Orange City University (8-2) – Titans are 24-6 on the field the last three years but haven’t made the playoffs in any of those seasons.
14. Wekiva (7-3) – Mustangs, who smothered Winter Park 35-7 on Sep. 23, matchup with the Wildcats again in the first round of the 8A playoffs.
15. Spruce Creek (7-3) – Hawks, home against Lake Brantley on Friday night, are in the postseason for the first time since 2008
16. Lake Brantley (6-4) – Patriots, who faced Spruce Creek in the Kickoff Classic, get a rematch with the Hawks with much higher stakes.
17. Winter Park (7-3) – Wildcats are 3-2 in first round playoff games under coach Tim Shifflet.
18. Timber Creek (7-3) – Wolves, who play at Apopka on Friday, are 1-5 all-time vs. the Blue Darters in the playoffs.
19. South Sumter (8-1) – Raiders meet up with Alachua Santa Fe in the first round of the playoffs for the second consecutive season.
20. Ocoee (7-3) – Knights withstood a late rally to beat West Orange for the first time since 2008.
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