SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Reigning State Champs Cocoa Tigers Return Potent Offense, Tough Defense

By  //  August 15, 2017

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SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Space Coast Daily was the campus of Cocoa High School to preview the Tigers season. Alan Zlotorzynzki speaks with head coach John Wilkinson and a interviews key returning players.

• Tigers finished 12-1 last season and defeated Bolles in the State Championship Class 4a 31-17 at Camping World Stadium.

• Reigning State Champs in Class 4a return a potent offense and potentially a lockdown defense. Offensively led by running back Javian Hawkins, athlete Willie Gaines and wide receiver

• Defensively, the Tigers will be led by senior defensive lineman Howard Stewart, senior linebacker John Smith, senior cornerback Qunelius Phillips and freshman defensive lineman Dajavon White. Last year, White, as a 8th grader, exploded on to the scene with 7 sacks, 41 tackles (19 solo) 1 forced fumble and two fumble recoveries. Stewart is expected to lead the defensive front for the Tigers. The senior defensive end has already received a notable offer from Kentucky, expect that list of offers to grow by season’s end. Meanwhile, DB Qunelius Phillips returns for his senior year after he led the Tigers in interceptions last year with five.

• Cocoa will face a couple early tests to begin the season which starts off with two road games: at Clearwater and at Trinity Christian Academy. Last year, Clearwater fell to Cocoa to begin the year 34-7, then went on to win their next 10 games, eventually losing their regional semifinal to Charlotte. Arguably, one of the best games last year was the Trinity Christian at Cocoa matchup. A game featured on ESPN2, finished in a overtime thriller and a Cocoa victory 26-23. Trinity Christian finished 2016 as the Class 5a State Runner-Up. This year, Cocoa travels up north to Jacksonville to take on the Conquerors. 

The reigning state champions Cocoa Tigers return a loaded 2017 squad with the defense led by senior defensive linemen Howard Stewart. (Colin Ziemer, SCD Image)
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FNLR Steve Wilson & Orville Susong: The Tigers look like the team to beat, however, the big question is, who will step into graduated QB Bruce Judson’s shoes.

Alan Z: The Tigers return 23 letterman and 12 starters, seven on defense. On paper, this team is even better than the one that captured last years 4A crown. Coach Wilkinson has options everywhere, including quarterback, as Bruce Judson is now at Oregon.

He has senior passer Bradley Cantrell or sophomore sensation Caziah Holmes, who is as athletic as any at the position. The Tigers should be back in Orlando looking for one for the thumb in December.


8-18 @ Clearwater 7 p.m.
8-25 @ Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville) 7:30 p.m.
9-1  vs Treasure Coast (Port St. Lucie) 7 p.m.
9-8  vs Dunnellon (Dunnellon) 7 p.m.
9-15 vs Everglades Prep Academy (Homestead) 7 p.m.
9-22 vs Viera 7 p.m.
9-29 vs International School of Broward 7 p.m.
10-6 vs Mainland  7 p.m.
10-13 Bye
10-20 @ Bartram Trail (St. Johns) 7 p.m.
10-27 vs Pahoke 7 p.m.
11-3  @ Rockledge 7 p.m.