A Season To Remember


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Written By: Jordan Rocco

Pictures Taken By: Vanessa Skipper & Craig Bailey

The Tigers competed in their fifth ever State Championship. In the past nine years they’ve made a total of five appearances in the State Championship. This year the Tigers were defeated by the Raines Vikings 13-10.

The game started off slow, neither team was able to score until the end of the first quarter. With less than two minutes remaining in the first quarter the Vikings running back, Brandon Marshall, rushed for a 72 yard touchdown. They went for the two point conversion, but they failed to convert which made the score 6-0 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter only had one score and it was a 46 yard field goal from Alex Petruzzello with sixteen seconds remaining in the first half. This was the longest field goal of Alex’s high school career. At the end of the first half the Vikings were up 6-3.

The Tigers regiment entertained the crowd with an amazing half time show.

Our Amazing Tiger Regiment! 🐅🎼🎺🎷🎼🐅

Posted by Tiger Times Productions on Thursday, December 7, 2017

The second half started off with both teams failing to score in the third quarter.

Going into the fourth quarter the Vikings were on top 6-3. With 9:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, Willie Gaines rushed into the pylon for a two yard touchdown.

The Vikings responded to the Tigers touchdown with a eight yard passing touchdown from Ivory Durham to Karmaree Noble. After the touchdown by the Vikings five minutes remained in the fourth quarter.

Towards the end of the fourth quarter the Tigers were down 10-13. The Tigers were given one more offensive possession after the touchdown.

On fourth down with less than three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the Tigers coaches had a tough decision to make. The decision was to either have Alex Petruzzello attempt a 52 yard field goal, which would’ve been the longest field goal attempt of his career, and tie the game or go for the first down and try to score a touchdown.

The Tigers decided to go for the first down, which was the safest decision since the offense only needed to pick up three yards and if they gained it they’d have a better chance of running the clock down and scoring. Unfortunately, the Tigers were unable to gain the first down and they were defeated 10-13 by the Raines Vikings.

I spoke with Alex Petruzzello after the game and I asked him how he felt about Coach Wilkinson’s decision to go for the first down on 4th & 3 instead of the field goal and he said “while I know Wilk has all the faith in the world in our field goal operation, I one hundred percent support his decision to go for the win.”

Although, this was not the result that the team dreamed for, this was still a historic season for the Tigers. This season the Tigers achieved a lot. They won eleven out of thirteen games and made it to the 4A State Championship for the second year in a row.

One game does not define a program’s success. Since 2008 the Tigers have won 11 straight Region Championships and four State Championships. Not only has the team been successful, but so have the players who have been apart of the team. Since 2008 a total of seventy four players have received football scholarships.

Sadly, we have to say good bye to the Seniors graduating. The Senior class has been truly incredible for the Tigers. In four years the Tigers had a overall regular season record of forty three wins and eight losses and have won eleven playoff games and lost three.

It is sad to see their high school football careers come to an end, but we are happy and excited to watch our players continue to play football in college. Currently fourteen seniors have received verbal offers to play football in college.

Congratulations to John Smith, Zach Beagle, Howard Stewart, and Josh Padrick for being apart of the Tigers Varsity Football team for all four years of their high school careers.

Here are our interviews from the 2017 4A State Championship.

Interviews From The 2017 4A State Championship Game

We apologize for the audio in some of the interviews, but they were too good not to include. #TigerPride #TigerTimes

Posted by Tiger Times Productions on Friday, December 8, 2017

Both the Tigers Varsity Cheerleaders and the Tigers Regiment were fantastic all season long and were constantly pumping up the players and fans every single game.

Thank you for following our coverage of the Cocoa Tigers 2017-2018 football season. We can’t wait to cover the Tigers next season. Please make sure you follow us on Facebook and Twitter for all Cocoa High School news!

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