Brevard County saved the best week of regular season football for last. The action was fast and furious all over the county on Friday, with the 41st Barbecue Bowl between Rockledge and Cocoa highlighting a heavyweight night of football.
Our own dynamic duo of Alan Zlotorzynski and Caleb Brown brought you all the action from this one on Brevard Sports Network. They were joined by Coach Eddie Mayes.
The trophy from this battle has taken up residence at Rockledge since 2016. Coach Ryan Schneider saw that change for his squad with a 41-34 win for his Cocoa Tigers at Richard Dick Blake Stadium.
Cocoa 45, Rockledge 34
Legendary wrestling commentator Jim Ross calls back-and-forth, action-packed matches slobber knockers. The 2020 version of the Barbecue Bowl was just that, as the Tigers and Raiders went back and forth all night.
Avery Smith’s 1-yard TD got Rockledge on the board and Nick King’s 38-yard field goal closed the gap to 7-3. Cocoa’s defense made a play on 4th-and-short on the next Rockledge drive, stopping Smith short by a chain link. O.J. Ross would later score from 1-yard out with 8:50 left in the second quarter to dive Cocoa a 10-7 lead.
A 30-yard pick-6 by Virgil Marshall put the Raiders up 14-10, but Ross answered back with a bruising four-yard touchdown run with 1:23 left in the half, giving Cocoa a 17-14 lead. They would go into the locker room with that lead.
These two teams came out firing on all cylinders in the third quarter, as they combined for six touchdowns. Raheim “Rocket” Sanders got Rockledge back in the lead as he went 80 yards for a touchdown, making it 21-17. He then made a tackle on the ensuing kickoff.
O.J. Ross answered that with a 1-yard run for the Tigers on the next drive, putting the Tigers back in front 24-21 with 5:28 left in the quarter. The Raiders got that touchdown back in the blink of an eye when the Rocket was launched 85 yards on the kickoff, returning it to the house and giving Rockledge a 27-24 lead. The extra point was missed.
Cocoa’s Tay Farmer didn’t wait long to put his team back in front, sprinting 55 yards for the score, to give Cocoa a 31-27 lead. Avery Smith got another 1-yard run on the next Rockledge drive to make it 34-31 Rockledge, with 1:44 still left in the quarter.
The ensuing kickoff landed in the hands of DJ Grimes and he took it back 90 yards to pay dirt, putting Cocoa up 38-34. When all was said and done in the third quarter, 41 points were scored in 12 minutes by these two squads.
Ross scored the only touchdown of the fourth quarter, an eight-yard run. It was his fourth of the night and sealed the victory for the Tigers in what will likely end up being the game of the year in 2020.