Cocoa Defeats Viera In Double-Overtime Thriller 24-17 in the Game of the Week
By Zach Clark // September 22, 2017
Kickoff set for 7 p.m.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Friday Night Locker Room’s Orville Susong and Steve Wilson come to you live from Cocoa Stadium as the Tigers host the Viera Hawks in a battle of the top-ranked Brevard County prep football teams.
ABOVE VIDEO: Alan Zlotorzynski brings you the final three minutes of regulation and both overtime sessions as Cocoa comes back to win 24-17, extending their streak to 42 straight games with a win over Brevrad County teams.
SPACE COAST DAILY TV: Alan Zlotorzynski brings you the pregame show as Cocoa hosts Viera tonight in a battle of the top-ranked Brevard County prep football teams.
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – How fitting that former Astronaut War Eagle head coach Randy Hallock was in attendance Friday for the Cocoa Tigers and Viera Hawks football game. Retired from sideline duties these days, Hallock’s War Eagles were the last Brevard County team to beat the Tigers at home.
That loss occurred back on October 27, 2006 when Astronaut handed Cocoa a 23-3 setback.
With less than three minutes to play on Friday night, head coach Kevin Mays Viera Hawks nearly ended the streak as his team led 10-3.
But ultra-athlete playing quarterback at this point in the game Willie Gaines kept the ball and snuck up the middle on a stout Hawks defense to pull within one point. Alex Petruzzello’s extra point tied the score at 10 eventually forcing overtime.
However, for a game that saw just 20 points scored by two of the county’s best teams, a lot happened during the game’s first 48 minutes and a lot of it had to do with the way the teams were playing defense. While much has been made of the Tigers defense, the Hawks defense was equally impressive on Friday night.
Viera did not allow Tigers quarterback Bradley Cantrell to get into a rhythm and forced Cantrell to the bench in favor of Willie Gaines to start the second half. Cantrell would come back to throw the game winning touchdown but that pass wouldn’t come from him being lined up at the quarterback position.
For Viera, Brandon Mays, Brock Holland, Miguel Rodriguez and former Tiger Q.Philiips stood out for the Hawks. Mays’ number seemed to be called following every tackle and Phillips blanketed Tigers receivers and picked off a pass against his old team in the third quarter.
Although the Hawks defense forced two big thrid quarter turnovers they could not turn them into significant game finishing points.
Following a Cooper Davis fumble recovery and Q. Phillips interception, the Hawks would drive inside the Cocoa red zone but could muster only a 37-yard Trey Schaneville field goal and instead of leading by two scores, could never extend the lead beyond 10-3. A missed field and dropped touchdown left the Hawks empty handed on the first points off turnover opportunity.
Offensively, Viera quarterback Tim DeMorat had a solid night, as he continues to hook up with WR Sean Atkinson. Atkinson, who scored all three Viera touchdowns in their win over Gonzaga in Washington D.C. before the long Irma layoff, scored both Viera touchdowns in this contest.
The first on a 47-yard middle slant from DeMorat before the half to put the Hawks up 7-3 at the break. The catch and long run TD sparked Viera into and out of halftime as the Hawks dominated the third quarter. Viera’s downfall was not being able to get the necessary points to put Cocoa away and when you allow the defending state champions to hang around, bad things tend to happen.
Following the impressive third quarter by Viera, the Tigers took over the fourth quarter the way they dominate most games from the start, running the football.
Brevard County’s leading rusher Jayvian Hawkins was kept out of the end zone by the Viera defense but keeping the Louisville Cardinal commit from scoring isn’t stopping him. Hawkins bailed out a stagnant Cocoa offense all night with several with long runs, including a 70-yard sprint late in the first quarter which led to Cocoa taking a 3-0 lead on a 34-yard Alex Petruzzello field goal.
With yet another opportunity late to go up by two scores, Viera missed 40-yard field goal and sensing this would be their last shot to tie, Cocoa would get the ball back and drive down to the Hawks nine-yard line. The big play was a 30-yard Willie Gaines to Rashean Lynn reception.
After a false start penalty moved the ball back to the 10-yard line, Willie Gaines took off up the middle and reached the end zone, the extra point made it 10-10. Seeing No.4 get into the east end zone from 10-yards out brought back memories of Cocoa’s last big overtime win at home, a 26-23 OT thriller against Trinity Christian last year on ESPN. In that game former Tiger QB, now Oregon Duck, Bruce Judson scored from nine yards out for the win.
Both teams would get another shot to win the game with only 1:49 to play. Viera would commit an intentional grounding penalty which ended their shot and the Tigers would get a chance to win it in regulation but miss a 29-yuard field goal with three seconds to play.
Cocoa won the overtime toss and elected to play defense first.
Viera could not move the ball on first or second and down to start the extra session so head coach Kevin Mays called timeout and facing third and nine for a touchdown called for a pass. DeMorat found Atkins once again –this time on the sideline of the end zone, as Atkins got his toes inbounds to put Viera up 17-10 heading to the bottom of the first overtime.
Cocoa’s offense would also faily to move the the ball on first or second down and they to would call timeout as it faced third and 10 for the tie. After the timeout, Gaines rolled right and under pressure was forced back to his left, lofting a pass in the direction of the back corner of the end zone. Wideout Rashean Lynn would emerge and haul in the pass for the touchdown and following the extra point, sent the game into a second overtime.
Cocoa would stay on offense and could not score on their first three downs. What happened next is the miracle that helps extends streaks like not losing to a Brevard County team at home since 2008. What everyone thought was a planned fake field goal, was a botched snap.
The holder, Cocoa’s starting quarterback Bradley Cantrell, did not panic and came up looking to pass and he found defensive star John Smith with 12-yard pass for the go ahead and eventual game winning touchdown. The extra point made it 24-17.
The Hawks would commit a penalty to start their second offensive possession of overtime and this forced them to start at the 15-yard line. Cocoa’s defense would tighten and then celebrate after Demorat’s fourth down pass sailed over Sean Atkins outstretched hands.
October 10, 2008 remains the date that Cocoa last lost to any Brevard County team anywhere. A one-point loss to John Wilkinson’s Alma Mater, the Merritt Island Mustangs. The streak is now 42 straight wins against teams from the 321.
The Hawks are coming off one of the best wins for a Space Coast team this year after traveling to Washington D.C. and thumping Gonzaga at home 21-6.
Head Coach Kevin Mays may have one of his best teams this season which is led by senior quarterback Tim Demorat. The 6-foot-4, 195-pound signal caller has flourished in Viera’s first two games with over 500 yards passing and two touchdowns. The senior has completed nearly 63-percent of his passes on 78-attempts. More importantly, Demorat has not thrown any interceptions early on in the 2017 season.
Running Back Jaren Lewis leads the Hawks ground game by averaging nearly 5-yards a carry and totaling over 100 yards in two games.
Wide Receiver Sean Atkins has accounted for 252-yards receiving, on 19 receptions and two touchdowns. While wide receiver has also caught for over 100 yards on the year.
Defensively, it starts with linebackers Brandon Mays and Brock Holland. The duo lead the Hawks in tackles with 33 and 36, respectively. Mays, a senior, is committed Army. Holland, a junior, has reportedly received an offer from Memphis but remains uncommitted, according to various recruiting gurus.
Cocoa enters tonight’s game after an impressive start to the season with an opening win against Trinity Christian and a blowout win against Treasure Coast on Sept. 1.
The reigning 4a State Champs are led by star senior running back Javian Hawkins, Louisville commit, who has been lightning for Cocoa in the run game this season. The senior has rushed for 422 yards, on 28 carries, in only two games. Hawkins is averaging an astounding 15 yards a carry and has 6 rushing touchdowns.
In fact, the Tigers offensive line has totaled over 600 rushing yards in two games. The offensive line is anchored by 6-foot-2, 300-pound, senior offensive lineman Josh Padrick.
Quarterback Bradley Cantrell has been one of Brevard County’s surprises thus far for 2017. The senior-transfer quarterback has been extremely efficient in the passing game with 18 completions on 22 attempts on the season. Cantrell is tossing at nearly a 82-percent completion percentage heading into tonight’s game against Viera, with no interceptions on the year.
The Tigers defense is led by the team’s leading tackler, defensive end Howard Stewart, who has accounted for 16 total tackles and one sack in two games.
Friday Night Locker Room’s Orville Susong, Steve Wilson and Alan Zlotorzynski will be providing live coverage on Space Coast Daily TV.
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