ROCKLEDGE — Preseason or not, first impressions don’t get much better than the one Wayne Younger made on Friday night.
In his first game as Rockledge’s new head coach, the former Cocoa star led his Raiders to a promising and convincing preseason win over visiting Melbourne at McClarty Stadium.
Rockledge led 20-0 through most of the third quarter (most Raider starters were pulled in the third quarter and junior varsity squads took over for both teams in the fourth) and the game ended with a 26-13 final score.
“It felt good to wear the Raider blue,” said Younger, who also coached at Florida State and Jacksonville State. “It’s something I’ll always remember.”
New quarterback Jaques Lyons ran Rockledge’s new pro-style uptempo offense and looked sharp, completing 10 of 12 passes and rushing for a game-high 46 yards. The senior also added two touchdowns: a 5-yard run in the second quarter and a 2-yard passing score to receiver Antoine Green as the halftime buzzer sounded.
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Raider kicker Justin Johnson added two first-half field goals, and Rockledge led 20-0 at the break.
Equally impressive was the Rockledge defense, which held Melbourne’s struggling offense to just 51 total yards and zero points through almost three quarters. The Bulldogs’ only score came with a few seconds remaining in the third quarter against a mostly second-string Rockledge defense.
Rockledge special teams got into the act as well, blocking two first-half punts that each led to quick points.
“Our defense was really flying around,” Younger said. “I like where we’re at defensively right now, we’re gonna get better as we go along through the season.”
Rockledge opens its regular season Friday at Viera, while Melbourne hosts Centennial (Port St. Lucie).
Gateway 34, Space Coast 13
Astronaut 46, Bayside 13
Rockledge 26, Melbourne 13
Satellite 9, St. Cloud 7
Cocoa 38, Titusville 13
St. Edward’s (Vero) 27, MIC 0
Viera 55, Eau Gallie 7