Tigers search program’s fifth soccer title
CLASS 4A STATE FOOTBALL CHAMPIONSHIP
(1) Raines (12-1) vs. (1) Cocoa (10-Three)
Tenting World Stadium, Orlando, 7 p.m. Thursday
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Street to the Championship Game: Raines d. Marianna, 47-9; d. West Nassau, 42-Zero; d. Dunnellon, 48-Zero. Cocoa d. Titusville Astronaut 35-Zero; d. Fort Myers Bishop Verot 38-14; d. Fort Lauderdale College 32-31. Each groups had first-round byes.
Playoff Historical past: Raines is 30-31 with two state championships (1997, 2017); Cocoa is 40-15 with 4 state championships (2008, 2009, 2010, 2016).
Head Coaches — Raines: Deran Wiley, ninth yr (96-24). Cocoa: Ryan Schneider, first yr(10-Three).
BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA– For 13 seasons underneath former head coach John Wilkinson no different workforce dominated the best way the Tigers did as Cocoa gained 144 video games, and dropping simply 25.
The Tigers captured 4 state championships, three of them in successive years when Cocoa gained 38 straight video games from 2008 by way of 2010. In different phrases, Beneath Wilkinson, the Tigers have been anticipated to compete for a championship yearly.
Nevertheless, Wilkinson departed Cocoa in March for the top teaching job at New Smyrna Seashore the place he would have a chance to coach his son.
Enter Ryan Schneider.
With out ever teaching one Cocoa Tigers soccer recreation, the first-year head coach can be the man changing a legend which meant he had his doubters and naysayers from the day he took the job.
Changing a legend isn’t straightforward and historical past tells us that you simply both succeed otherwise you don’t. The strain is gigantic and you may be Jimbo Fisher changing Bobby Bowden or Lane Kiffin changing Pete Carroll.
Though Schneider was a three-time state champ as an offensive coordinator, he was a first-time head coach and the previous UCF Knights gunslinging quarterback was coming in and altering an offense that ran the ball 78 % of the time to one which put it in the air six out of each 10 performs.
Cocoa Tigers soccer was recognized to be an ideal dashing assault and hard-nosed protection. Schneider needed extra finesse on offense and a protection that created extra scoring alternatives for his offense.
Issues began nicely with a lopsided win over Palm Bay however then the Tigers misplaced their second recreation of the yr to Treasure Coast. A couple of weeks later the Tigers allowed 49 factors in dropping for the primary time ever to the Viera Hawks.
Whispers about Schneider’s teaching talents turned to roars of discontent after the Tigers misplaced to Rockledge for the second straight yr, this time by 32 factors in Brevard County’s most necessary rivalry recreation, the Barbecue Bowl.
No means this Tigers workforce might attain Orlando stated the naysayers.
Schneider’s plan to use Cocoa athletes via the passing recreation was a failure, the protection leaked yards and factors and wasn’t almost as bodily as what Cocoa followers have been used to seeing, stated the die-hards.
Misplaced in the shuffle was the very fact the Tigers have been enjoying arguably their hardest schedule in years, and Cocoa’s sophomore QB, who broke a number of of the faculties passing data.
The Tigers have been as Schneider likes to say #CocoaFast.
Because the saying the goes, the extra issues change the extra they keep the identical. Cocoa is true again in Orlando for a 3rd straight yr and on Wednesday night will attempt to avenge final years title recreation loss in a rematch vs. the Raines Vikings (12-1) at Tenting World Stadium.
HOW THE TIGERS ARRIVED:
Because the Tigers are recognized to do, they performed one other robust common season schedule dealing with seven groups that reached this yr FHSAA postseason.
The mixed document of Cocoa’s opponents through the common season was 70-44 and after ending 7-Three towards that sort of competitors Cocoa completed with the second most energy factors in Class 4A and was awarded a first-round playoff bye.
The Tigers will face the staff that completed with probably the most factors in Class 4A for the championship.
Cocoa rolled previous this yr’s feel-good native soccer story in their opening spherical playoff recreation. The Tigers shut out the 10-1 Astronaut Conflict Eagles 35-Zero and regardless of a mistake-filled second half defeated Bishop Verot, 38-14 in the regional finals.
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Thursday, December 6 match-ups:
1pm – Baker vs. Madison County (1A)
7pm – Cocoa vs. Raines (4A)
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The College Sharks got here to Dick Blake Stadium for the second yr in a row in the state semifinals and this yr have been heavy favorites to beat Cocoa. College rolled over their first two playoff opponents by a mixed rating of 85-27.
Cocoa led 17-16 on the half however a disastrous begin to the second half noticed the Tigers down by 14 factors and after the Tigers fumbled on their approach into the top zone to minimize the lead to seven factors, it appeared as if College was heading again to Fort Lauderdale with a win.
Seems to be could be deceiving and after Willie Gaines tackled Georgia operating again commit Kenny Macintosh in the top zone for a security to begin the fourth quarter and minimize the lead to 31-26, the tide modified, and the Sharks offense sputtered whereas Cocoa’s had another huge drive in them.
With Three:20 to play and dealing with third down and aim to go from almost the 20-yard line, sophomore QB DJ Arroyo discovered WR Jamari Williams who outjumped defenders to haul in the game-winning cross.
Tigers linebacker Brock Holland pressured a fumble that gave the ball to Cocoa however the Tigers have been unable to decide up a primary down to finish the sport. The Sharks would get yet one more determined shot with no timeouts however the Tigers wouldn’t be denied a shot to avenge final years championship recreation loss to Raines.
There are such a lot of storylines for the Tigers heading into tonight’s recreation.
Can Schneider beat a Raines workforce the best way Wilkinson couldn’t or wouldn’t attempt to in final years recreation?
Raines held Cocoa to simply 99 dashing yards throughout final years contest and lots of felt the Tigers failure to attempt to assault Raines via the air harm Cocoa’s possibilities of profitable a fifth title.
Can Willie Gaines end off his Cocoa profession on prime?
Gaines could be the solely participant ever in Brevard County have 1,00Zero yards dashing, receiving and passing in his highschool profession. Gaines story is nicely documented and the truth that he’s overcome the tragic demise of two shut relations and the close to capturing demise of his father and stayed targeted is superb.
Will Brock Holland’s journey again to Tenting World Stadium be totally different now that Ryan Schneider is on his sideline?
Brock Holland acquired rather a lot of criticism when he transferred from Viera to Cocoa final summer time. Holland felt Cocoa was a greater match for what he needed to accomplish together with his highschool soccer profession. And with no slight to Viera, one of these accomplishments was to win a state title.
As a freshman, Holland was with Viera in 2015 when the Hawks misplaced to St. Thomas Aquinas in the 7A title recreation. The offensive coordinator for the Raiders was no aside from Cocoa head coach Ryan Schneider. Holland is completely happy to finish his highschool enjoying profession the place all of it started however could be very a lot targeted on a unique end result this time.
Whereas Cocoa performed a troublesome schedule in 2018, no workforce performed a harder one than Raines in Class 4A, in accordance to the facility factors.
The Vikings went 9-1 and recorded wins over Mandarin who will play for a Class 8A State Championship and Raines defeated Lincoln on the street they usually superior to the second spherical of the Class 7A State Playoffs.
The Vikings additionally defeated playoff groups Fletcher, Ribault, Oakleaf, and a 7-Three Sandalwood group that missed the playoffs. Though the video games don’t rely in the standings, Raines defeated the Rockledge Raiders, 34-28 in the kickoff basic this previous August.
Already the one Duval County public faculty to ever win a state championship in soccer, Raines is wanting to win their third general title and the Vikings have rolled to this level, outscoring their opponents 137-9 in three playoff video games.
The Vikings accrued 5,397 complete yards of offense thus far this season. They’re pretty balanced as they maintain the ball on the bottom 60-percent of the time. They’re led on offense by senior operating again Brandon Marshall who eclipsed Four,00Zero profession dashing yards in the state semifinals win over Dunnellon.
In final years state championship recreation vs. Cocoa, Marshall gashed the Tigers for 149 dashing yards together with a 72-yard dashing landing. Marshall can attain 2,00Zero dashing yards for the season tonight if he can achieve 84-yards vs. the Cocoa protection.
Senior Barron Coates leads the Vikings offense underneath middle with 1,842 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. He has thrown simply 4 interceptions.
Led by senior center linebacker Nigel Allen and Iowa State commit, outdoors linebacker Aric Horne, the Vikings possess excellent velocity in the center of their protection.
Allen leads the Raines with 93 tackles this season. Janorris Robertson registered a team-high 12 sacks this season. And in the secondary James Tarver Jr. and Treyvon Hobbs mixed for 10 interceptions.
Led by head coach Derean Wiley, the Vikings are additionally the primary Duval County Faculty since 1967 and 1968 to play for a state title in again to again seasons.
Wiley is a local of Jacksonville, Florida and a 1993 graduate of Raines. Wiley attended the College of Louisville the place he was a defensive again for the Cardinals.
In 2009 Wiley was named Vikings head coach, and up till the beginning of the 2015 season, compiled a report of 49-16. Since 2015, the Vikings are 47-Eight with two state championship appearances. Wiley’s general mark is 96-24.
Raines is 25-2 over the previous two seasons and has gained 12 straight since dropping its 2018 opener 16-15 to 7A Jacksonville Lee.
They’ve nice playmakers at each degree on protection and one of the hardest operating backs in the state to deal with. With that stated, I picked towards Cocoa final week as a result of I felt College had greater, quicker and higher athletes.
What I didn’t issue into the equation was the guts of the Tigers and simply how dangerous they need to win this title. I didn’t keep in mind Willie Gaines and his “I’ll put you on my back and carry you” mentality. I underestimated head coach Ryan Schneider’s connection together with his group and the way a lot the gamers have purchased into his means of doing issues.
Regardless of solely placing up 153 complete yards of offense final yr vs. Raines, the Tigers ought to have gained and had their possibilities to achieve this.
Cocoa fumbled the ball on the aim line on the best way in for a landing and after taking the lead late in the sport allowed Raines QB Ivory Durham to convert a 3rd and 17 on the 10-yard line. Durham eluded defenders on a spectacular 39 yard run for a primary down into Tiger territory.
Cocoa failed to capitalize on Raines errors. The Vikings had 19 penalties for 191-yards however Cocoa dedicated 11 penalties for 72 yards, together with a number of delay of recreation calls that killed Cocoa drives.
The most important mistake was Cocoa’s failure to open up the protection by having the ability to throw the ball. The Tiger passing assault was simply Four-for-13 for 62 yards. You reside by the sword, and on this night time, the Tiger’s title hopes died by it.
There’s something totally different about this Cocoa workforce. The Tigers can beat you each which means on offense, and the protection has been spectacular at occasions.
Cocoa gained’t be intimidated by something Raines can do, the Tigers have seen all of it this season. From future Georgia Bullldog operating again Kenny Macintosh final week, to a younger and dynamic Viera QB Bryce Norton, Cocoa has confronted it.
If the Tigers can play comparatively mistake-free soccer, I like their possibilities to beat Raines. Ryan Schneider is Three-Zero as an offensive coordinator in state title video games, make it 1-Zero as a head coach.
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