Week 5: Cocoa 17, Viera 7

Javian Hawkins of Viera is dragged down by William Champion of Viera during Friday's game in Viera.

Javian Hawkins of Viera is dragged down by William Champion of Viera during Friday’s game in Viera.

Last year, they played a dramatic thriller that went right down to the wire.

This time around, the Cocoa Tigers and the Viera Hawks played another close game that went right down until … 10 seconds left in the third quarter.

That’s when the game was delayed by lightning in the area. Just over an hour later, the contest was called, making the final score Cocoa 17, Viera 7.

Cocoa running back Timmy Pratt’s 2-yard touchdown run broke a 7-7 tie with 7:13 remaining in the third quarter, and Alex Petruzzello nailed a 44-yard field goal to give the Tigers a 10-point lead just before the lightning delay.

While both teams struggled to move the ball in the first half, the Tigers made an adjustment at halftime that really seemed to pay off.

“We knew their defensive front was tough,” Cocoa coach John Wilkinson said, “so we tried to mix it up a little more. We’d kind of gotten away from what we do and at halftime, I was like, ‘Guys, we’re just going to run it right at them and let the chips fall where they may.’

“We started hitting them with some counters and getting some yards, and the kids starting getting some confidence.”

No Tiger reflected that more than running back Lasedrick King, who gained 125 yards on 13 carries with 90 of those yards coming in the second half.

Viera, meanwhile, was hoping to pull off a comeback similar to last year’s game when the Hawks rallied from 21 points down to tie the score at 42-42 late in the fourth quarter before Cocoa quarterback Bruce Judson led the Tigers on a final game-winning drive.

“We wanted to test ourselves to see where we’re at. That’s why we scheduled good teams like Cocoa,” Hawks coach Kevin Mays said. “I think our defense played good tonight. Offensively, we struggled, and I think that just takes time with some of our younger guys.

“I think we all would have looked forward to finishing the game to see where it ended, but Mother Nature didn’t cooperate.”

Cocoa’s first touchdown was set up by two big plays. First, the Tigers stopped Viera on a fourth-and-1 from its own 44, giving Cocoa’s offense a short field. Then, with the Tigers facing their own fourth-and-4 at the Viera 17, Petruzzello was sent out to try a field goal.

Well, until the Tigers called a time out and then decided to go for it. Judson hit Dezmon Morgan with a 6-yard pass for the first down, and Javian Hawkins eventually took it in from 12 yards out to give Cocoa a 7-0 lead.

It stayed that way until the second quarter when Viera’s Garrett Kaminski intercepted a Judson pass and returned it to the Cocoa 5-yard line. Once again, the Hawks (3-2) struggled offensively and actually found themselves in a third-and-goal from the 19 situation.

Quarterback Tim DeMorat then hit Travis Jones with a short screen pass over the middle, and Jones took it to the Cocoa 1-yard line. And on fourth down, Brennen DePlancke scored to tie the game at 7.

“That touchdown was on me because I kind of got talked into doing something that’s out of my character,” Wilkinson said. “Throwing it deep down there in our own territory, that’s my fault. I can’t put that on the defense. I thought they played great. So that’s one score on Coach Wilkinson.”

As close as the first half was, the third quarter definitely belonged to the Tigers (3-1), who got points on both of their possessions.

Despite the victory, Wilkinson didn’t seem all that pleased with the way the Tigers have played this season.

“We haven’t been playing real well, to be honest,” Wilkinson said. “I don’t think we have an identity yet. We’ve kind of been here and there. We have a good play and then a bad play and we miss a block.

“I’m not real happy. We’ve got a long way to go. We’ve got Mainland next, and that’s going to be a tough one, too. We’ve just got to get better.”

That’s why the way the Tigers played in the second half was a good sign for Cocoa.

“The third quarter was definitely a step in the right direction,” Wilkinson said. “That’s a good football team right there. They’re going to go far in the playoffs. They’re 7A. We’re just a little 4A, and we were able to line up and move the ball on them. That was a huge help.”

High school sports |

COCOA 17, VIERA 7 (3 Quarters)

Cocoa     7   0  10  –  17

Viera      0   7    0   –   7

1st Quarter

C: Javian Hawkins 12 run (Alex Petruzzello kick), :31.2

2nd Quarter

V: Brennen DePlancke 1 run (Trey Schaneville kick), 8:56

3rd Quarter

C: Timmy Pratt 2 run (Alex Petruzzello kick), 7:13

C: Alex Petruzzello 44 FG, 1:45



RUSHING: C—Lasedrick King 13-125, Timmy Pratt 13-45, Bruce Judson 10-37, Javian Hawkins 3-13. V—Brennen DePlancke 10-23, Mike Vega 1-(-4), Tim DeMorat 4-(-11).

PASSING: C—Judson 3-7-28-0-1. V—DeMorat 11-15-85-0-0.

RECEIVING: C—Hawkins 2-1, Juwan Armstrong 1-16, Dezmon Morgan 1-6. V—Travis Jones 3-36, Don Jackson 2-6, DePlancke 2-5, Vega 1-27, Quinton Richard 1-11, Bear Bollinger 1-5, Sean Atkins 1-2.

At Viera High School, Viera

Top performers: Cocoa: Lasedrick King 13 carries for 125 yards with 90 of this yards coming in the third quarter. Viera: Garrett Kaminski’s interception and return set up Brennen DePlancke’s 1-yd TD run.

Key play: Cocoa’s Timmy Pratt scores in a 2-yard run on the Tigers’ first possession of the second half to break a 7-7 tie and put Cocoa up for good.

Record: Cocoa (3-1)  Viera (3-2).

Next week: Melbourne at Viera, 7 p.m.; Cocoa bye

Full game report:

Carl Kotala, for FLORIDA TODAY

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