Though there was some rust to shake off – it is preseason after all – the Cocoa Tigers were able to take care of business Friday night, easily defeating the Clearwater Tornadoes 34-7 in their 2016 season debut.
“I just thought we didn’t play real well,” Cocoa head coach John Wilkinson said. “I think we need to get better, especially offensively.”
Clearwater running back Adarius Lemons helped give the visitors an immediate lead with a 57-yard gallop on the Tornadoes’ first play of the game which set up a 4-yard touchdown pass from Austin Day to Tramar Reece.
Two drives and two Tiger scores, a 29-yard field goal by Alex Petruzzello and a 15-yard touchdown run by Timmy Pratt, would quickly erase the Tornadoes only lead of the game and set the tone for rest of the night.
“There was just kind of a lapse on that first play, Wilkinson said. “We can’t do that against good football teams. We’ll get better.”
In the second quarter Petruzzello kicked another 17-yard field in the second quarter and a 60-yard run by Cocoa quarterback Bruce Judson set up a one-yard touchdown run by Lasedrick King to put Tigers up 20-7 heading into halftime.
Things remained much the same in the second half with Pratt scoring a second touchdown on a 4-yard run following a Clearwater fumble deep in their own territory and Judson capping the night off by nailing Javian Hawkins on a 32-yard touchdown pass.
Cocoa will stay home to kick off their regular season next week against nationally ranked Trinity Christian Academy.
“We’re playing a team that’s top 25 in the country and it’s going to be on national TV,” Wilkinson said. “If we play like we did today we’re going to get embarrassed.”
Top performers: Cocoa: Timmy Pratt, nine carriers, 48 yards, 2 TD; Clearwater: Adarius Lemons, 11 carries, 121 yards
Key play: 60-year run by Cocoa’s Bruce Judson sets up one-yard TD run by Lasedrick King to put Cocoa up 20-7 heading into halftime.
Next week: Clearwater at Tarpon Springs 7:30 p.m. Aug. 26; Jacksonville Trinity Christian at Cocoa, 2 p.m. Aug. 28
Full game report: http://on.flatoday.com/2b6xM03
Clearwater 7 0 0 0 – 7
Cocoa 10 10 7 7 – 34
CW: Tramar Reece 4 pass from Austin Day (Shane McDonough kick), 8:401st Quarter
CO: Alex Petruzzello 29 FG, 6:48
CO: Timmy Pratt 15 run (Alex Petruzzello kick), 3:26
CO: Alex Petruzzello 17 FG, 6:27
CO: Lasedrick King 1 run (Alex Petruzzello kick), 3:07
CO: Timmy Pratt 4 run (Alex Petruzzello kick), 2:39
CO: Javian Hawkins 32 pass from Bruce Judson (Judson Petruzzello kick), 9:36
David Barkholz, For FLORIDA TODAY