Cocoa Tigers Roar In Rout Of American Heritage

By  //  August 25, 2012

Folston Puts On Show On ESPN


BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – Tarean Folston put on a show for an ESPN national audience – even if Saturday’s 25-7 Kickoff Classic victory against American Heritage won’t count in the standings.

Cocoa's Tarean Folston ran for 136 yards on 16 carries and scored two touchdowns in Cocoa's nationally televised victory over American Heritage on Saturday. (Image courtesy Jon Belveaux)

Folston, who is being recruited by most of the top college football schools in the country, scored two touchdowns in a span of 3 minutes, 12 seconds early in the second quarter to give Cocoa a commanding 17-0 advantage against the defending Class 3A state champions.

“He’s our best player – he’s our guy,” Cocoa coach John Wilkinson said. “He’s the best player in the state.’

Folston caught a play-action pass from left-handed quarterback Jaelon Knowles on the left side and ran untouched from the 5-yard line into the end zone for a 21-yard scoring play with 11:11 to play in the second quarter.

Matt Adams, who had given Cocoa a 3-0 lead with a 33-yard field goal with 3:27 remaining in the first quarter, converted the extra point to extend the Tigers’ lead to 10-0. Folston was his holder.

Two penalties stalled American Heritage on the ensuing possession, and Cocoa took possession at its own 40 after a short 20-yard punt by Greg Joseph.

After an incomplete pass on first down, Folston took a pitch on the left side, retained possession as American Heritage’s Darrion Richardson tried to strip the ball from him, broke a tackle on a possible facemask and then cut across the field to the right sideline. Ka’Wan Peete had a chance to tackle Folston at the 10, but Folston’s fake left Peete grasping for air as Folston completed the 60-yard scoring run.

Adams added the extra point to expand the lead to 17-0 with 7:59 to play in the second quarter.

“I love my offensive line,” said the 5-foot-10, 195-pound Folston. “My O-line blocked well for me and I want to show some appreciation.’

Folston, who played quarterback for the Tigers in their 26-0 Spring Game victory against Class 8A powerhouse Dr. Phillips when Knowles was unable to participate in spring practice, rushed for 136 yards on 16 carries.

American Heritage, which is located in Delray Beach, trounced Madison County 30-3 last year to win the Class 3A state title. Cocoa fell 20-14 in overtime to Miami Booker in the Class 4A state semifinals.

The Cocoa Tigers defeated American Heritage 25-7 in a Kickoff Classic prep football game on ESPN on Saturday. (Image by Jeff Navin)

“This definitely was the perfect opponent for us,” Cocoa coach John Wilkinson said. “They (American Heritage) came here to play. They had big offensive linemen, a big defensive line and a good running back. Last year, we got beat up against the bigger teams because we didn’t play enough of them. We’ll get stronger playing a team like this.”

American Heritage used its big offensive line to drive 71 yards on 17 plays to score its lone points on quarterback Marcus Davis’ 1-yard scoring run with 5:42 to play in the third quarter. Joseph added the extra point to whittle Cocoa’s lead to 17-7. Davis completed a 21-yard pass to Desmond Cain to move the ball to Cocoa’s 17.

Highly recruited running back Greg Bryant rushed for 42 yards on nine carries during the drive to open the second half, which whittled 6:12 off the clock. Bryant finished with 115 yards rushing on 26 carries.

“We watched a lot of film of him,” Folston said. “We knew what we wanted to do to stop him.”

Cocoa took advantage of a bad snap to tackle Davis in the end zone for a safety late in the third quarter.

Antwan Lee, who finished with 101 yards on 21 carries, capped the scoring for Cocoa with a 2-yard touchdown run with 11:55 to play in the fourth quarter.

“They (American Heritage) won a state title last year and they’re going to win it again,” Wilkinson said. “… Our kids answered the call. We contained Greg Bryant, and we didn’t turn the ball over. We’ll build on this game.”