The Cocoa Tigers have been a powerhouse for many years, and 2019 was no different. The Tigers went 8-4 overall, with the season culminating with a loss to Bolles in the FHSAA Football State Championship, as two number one teams battled to a 20-14 final on November 29. With that, the Tigers finished the season ranked 54th in the state.
Senior quarterback D.J. Arroyo had a big season in 2019, throwing for 2,287 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 190.8 yards per game through the air. Junior wideout Jamaryae Robinson had 32 catches for 486 yards leading at that position in his sophomore season. Senior OJ Ross led the team with 35 catches, for 457 yards, Ross also ran for 115 yards on 13 carries.
The Tigers’ backfield will look much different in 2020, with the graduation of Caziah Holmes, who will suit up for Penn State when the college football season gets underway. Holmes was an absolute stud, not only in Brevard County but in the state. He rushed for 1,472 yards on 180 carries, going for 19 touchdowns. He hit the 100-yard mark in six of his 12 games and had 1,716 all-purpose yards.
Amarion Gaines has also graduated, taking his 513 yards and nine touchdowns with him. It will be interesting to see who takes the lead this season, as the season gets underway. Will it be Ross or junior Latrayvius Williams, or will a newcomer like Samadrae Hawkins make an impact? It will be fun to watch.
The offensive line that will be blocking for those backs will look a bit different this season, as guard Richie Leonard IV has graduated and moved on to play football for the Florida Gators this fall.
The defense will look to build on a great 2019 season that saw them pick up 28 sacks and 19 interceptions while averaging 71.1 tackles a game. AJ Williams had 149 tackles to lead the team in 2019, averaging just over 12 tackles a game. He had four sacks and four hurries.
Senior Dajavon White led the team with nine sacks, one interception, and two caused fumbles. They will lead a stacked defense that includes seniors Kionte Curry, who had 47 tackles and five interceptions. He did that while handling the punting duties. He punted 24 times for 1,018 yards, averaging just over 42 yards per punt. He put six of those inside the 20.
Ja’quez Hicks who had five interceptions, two fumble recoveries, and eight deflected passes, will again be a big cog in the 2020 defense.
The Tigers will start the season on a three-game road trip. They will open on August 21 at Viera, with a game against Palm Bay the following week, and will visit Osceola on September 4. Their first home game will be against Sebastian River on September 11.
The Barbecue Bowl rivalry game is scheduled for October 30, in Rockledge. All games will start at 7:00 p.m. Please keep in mind that schedules are subject to change.