Cocoa, Rockledge Lead SCD–FNLR 2021 Brevard High School Football Preseason Top 10 Power Rankings
By Juan Rodriguez, Space Coast Daily // July 9, 2021
THE SPACE COAST DAILY – FRIDAY NIGHT LOCKER ROOM TEAM IS BREVARD'S #1 SPORTS SOURCE
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – The Space Coast Daily–Friday Night Locker Room 2021 Brevard County High School Football Preseason Top 10 Power Rankings are out and the Cocoa Tigers and Rockledge Raiders are once again projected to be the dominant programs on the Space Coast.
The Space Coast Daily – Friday Night Locker Room principals and broadcast team have more than 100 years of experience covering youth and high school sports in Brevard County and this season’s coverage on Space Coast Daily TV will once again feature a dynamic broadcaster lineup.
Space Coast Sports Hall of Famers Steve Wilson and Orville Susong of the Friday Night Locker Room will once again bring you all the live action from the broadcast booth.
In addition, Tom Palermo, Jim Palermo, Giles Malone, Zach Clark, Juan Rodriguez, Jordan Rocco, Ron Lighthall, Daryl Durand, Matt O’Hern, Michael Malone, Gavin Keith, Brian Dillon, will anchor or produce play-by-play broadcasts this season.
Don’t miss these live sports broadcasts, featuring cutting-edge coverage on the streaming Space Coast Daily TV, along with player interviews, replays, highlights, pre-game and post-game analysis, and much more!
2021 Brevard County High School Football Top 10 Power Ranking:
■ 1. Cocoa Tigers: The Tigers finished last season with the best record in the county, only losing one game during the regular season and falling one game short of the State Championship for the second year in a row. Expect big-time players such as Cedric Hawkins, O.J. Ross, and Jmariyae Robinson to have a big season, but the acquisition of former Holy Trinity Quarterback Davin Wydner just makes this football powerhouse that much more of a problem on Friday nights.
■ 2. Rockledge Raiders: Rockledge lost a few key players from last season including Quarterback Elias Allen and star athlete Raheim Sanders, but the culture Coach Wayne Younger has instilled in his football program will keep them in the mix for the top spot. The Raiders enter the season with some of the top talents in the county such as Rian Black and Virgil Marshall to name a few.
■ 3. Viera Hawks: Viera Hawks reel in exceptional talent year in and year out under Head Coach Dereck Smith. Well, this year they have arguably the best talent in Brevard County this upcoming season in Defensive Star Jamari Lyons. Senior Quarterback CJ Simms and Running Back Judah Knight looked like a top one-two combo in the spring game. If that transitions into the regular season and beyond, we could be looking at a special Viera Hawks season.
■ 4. Palm Bay Pirates: This ranking will surprise people but not for those who watch Palm Bay football last season. Even with all the talent on the roster, the Pirates really had no true identity. Which led to a change in coaching and now Palm Bay will enter the season under new Head Coach Jake Owens. It looks like players have bought into Coach Owens vision rather quickly as they dominated in their spring game Jamboree.
■ 5. Eau Gallie Commodores: The Commodores are coming off arguably their best season in program history after making it to the postseason and securing their first playoff victory ever. Coaching has a lot to do with a team’s success and Coach Sands certainly has turned the Eau Gallie program around, but you could see a slight decline just off the fact that a plethora of elite talent from the previous season went off to play at the next level. Eau Gallie still has talent but losing numerous impact players is something you can’t ignore.
■ 6. Bayside Bears: Coach Broomfield had a phenomenal season last year after recording Bayside’s longest win streak since 2014 and securing their first playoff win since 2010. I expect to see the bears continue to improve from their previous 4-6 season with all the versatility on both ends of the ball. The Bears will go as far as their defense will take them as they gave up a lot of points to the opposing team last year.
■ 7. Melbourne Bulldogs: After the bulldogs concluded the 2020 season with an underwhelming 3-6 season, Melbourne made a change by naming David kintigh as the new head coach. The talent is there, it’s just a matter of how the defensive side of the ball holds up and how quickly Kintigh can get his players to buy into the system.
■ 8. Holy Trinity Tigers: Holy Trinity finished their season above .500 last year under Head Coach Nate Hooks. The Tigers have already faced challenges regarding their football program considering they barely had 20 players on the entire roster last season. To add to their shortage of players, their former 3-star pro-style quarterback Davin Wydner transferred to Cocoa to conclude his High School career. This upcoming season could be challenging with the amount of young talent and new faces.
■ 9. Astronaut War Eagles: This ranking feels considerably low after the impressive season Coach Worden and the War Eagles had last year. The 2020 Space Coast Player of the Year Abreon Torres graduated, Torres had a major role in their success last season and when you lose a player like that, it could be difficult to regain your identity after a spectacular rushing season as they experienced in 2020. I expect Quarterback Antonio Caito to have a good season and keep the War Eagles competitive.
■ 10. Heritage Panthers: Heritage finished the season with an uneventful 1-7 regular season in 2020. A lot of that had to do with having arguably the youngest roster on the Space Coast. Panthers will only get better with experience and chemistry with this young team led by sophomore Quarterback Joseph Tenta. The Space Coast is loaded talent, experience-wise when you compare them to Heritage, so I expect them to make a significant leap after another season under this young core’s belt.
Space Coast Daily’s Professional, Experienced and Dedicated Staff Provides Brevard’s Most Trusted News and Sports Coverage
The Space Coast Daily team brings you the very best Brevard County news and sports coverage. This is the fourth decade of high school sports coverage for the principals of Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room.
In 1997, Dr. Jim Palermo, now Editor-in-Chief of Space Coast Daily, and Tom Palermo, now Space Coast Daily president and publisher, called the first-ever Brevard County high school football game on the radio.
From 1997 through 2000, the Palermo brothers called high school football action on WMEL and below is a clipping promoting the broadcasts out of the August 26, 1999 edition of Space Coast Press newspaper, which was owned and published by Tom Palermo. Gannett purchased the Press from Palermo in July 2000.
“One of the most memorable moments during those years was when we broadcast the Palm Bay – Dillard 2000 state championship game back to Brevard from the Swamp in Gainesville,” said Jim Palermo.
Dan Burke’s Palm Bay Pirates defeated Dillard 10-6 to win the 6A title that year.
The Palermo’s turned over the reins of the broadcasts to the Friday Night Locker Room team beginning in 2001. Since then, the Friday Night Locker Room hasn’t missed a beat as Steve Wilson and Orville Susong begin their 20th full season broadcasting prep sports on the Space Coast.
In 2012, Space Coast Daily and the Friday Night Locker Room forged a partnership to bring Brevard County one-of-a-kind comprehensive cutting edge multimedia youth and high school sports coverage, including football, volleyball, basketball, baseball, softball, soccer, track and field, wrestling, bowling and more.
Ever the innovators, the Space Coast Daily – Friday Night Locker Room team provided Space Coast sports fans the first web live streams and Facebook Live play-by-play action, and are dedicated to being the preeminent purveyor of multimedia sports coverage on the Space Coast for many years to come.
Space Coast Daily excels across all mediums, including social media, the web, print and grassroots events, such as the Space Coast Sports Hall of Fame, which Space Coast Daily founded in 2011.