Trinity Christian Academy of Jacksonville and Cocoa High both do a lot of winning on the football field.
Sunday at 2 p.m. (TV: ESPN2), they’ll meet at Cocoa Stadium in the regular-season opener for both teams.
TCA went 14-0 and won the Class 3A championship last year. It was the team’s third consecutive title. Cocoa, 10-3 last year, won three state titles from 2008-10.
Both teams were ranked by Florida sports writers in last week’s preseason voting, Trinity Christian at the top of the 3A poll and the Tigers third in 4A.
The Conquerors come into this meeting with a 21-game winning streak. The last team to beat them was Bradenton’s IMG Academy, 28-7, on Oct. 16, 2014.
Trinity Christian has won 32 of its last 33 and 45 of its last 48 games. Although it didn’t count as an official game, TCA lost its preseason meeting with North Marion last week, 22-20. Cocoa defeated Clearwater, 34-7.
Leading Cocoa into its season debut is senior quarterback Bruce Judson, who accounted for 2,104 yards of total offense last year. He has committed to sign with the University of South Florida.
Pirates tough on the goal line
The Palm Bay defense has made an early-season habit of stiffening with its back to the end zone. In its preseason game against Santaluces and in Thursday’s regular-season opener against Columbine (Colo.), the Pirates made goal-line stands.
While the preseason stand didn’t affect the outcome, stopping Columbine from scoring in the fourth quarter Thursday at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World may have saved the game. Jalen Shelton made a particularly key play on third-and-goal from the 1, when he was the only player close enough to prevent a Rebels scoring sprint to the left pylon. Not only did he make the play, but he dropped the runner for a 1-yard loss.
The Pirates then stuffed the middle on fourth down, forcing another loss and a change of possession with an 18-13 lead.
“I just think it shows what kind of guts our defense has,” Pirates head coach Dan Burke said. “They can play undisciplined at times, but when their backs are against the wall, they rise up.”
Palm Bay got the win, 25-20.
Panthers looking to varied attack
After the first five offensive plays by the Heritage Panthers on Friday, four running backs had carried the ball. With heavy losses from last year’s team, expect the team to throw runner after runner at opponents in 2016.
“That’s what I’d like to do,” head coach Mark Ainsley said. “We’ve got about six or seven guys we can run.”
Six players finished with rushing yards in the 28-21 win over Merritt Island. Avery Oates led the way with 73 yards on 12 attempts. He scored the game’s first touchdown on a 2-yard run.
Looking ahead to next week
Three Brevard County teams will play out-of-state opponents in Week 2, including Cocoa making a trip west to play Las Vegas Bishop Gorman.
Heritage will follow rival Palm Bay with a game at the ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney. The Panthers will face Dakota Ridge of Littleton, Colo., on Friday. On Saturday, Viera will host Gonzaga of Washington, D.C.
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Week 2 Brevard high school football schedule
Space Coast at Lake Howell, 7 p.m.
Orlando Christian Prep at MIC, 7
Astronaut at Eau Gallie, 7
Bayside at Palm Bay, 7
Dakota Ridge (Littleton, Colo.) vs. Heritage at Wide World of Sports, 8
Cocoa at Bishop Gorman (Las Vegas, Nev.)
Lake Brantley at Titusville, 7
Spruce Creek at Melbourne, 7
Pine Ridge vs. Cocoa Beach, 7
Jacksonville Harvest Comm. at Holy Trinity, 7
Satellite at MCC, 7
Merritt Island at Lake Wales, 7:30