The Rockledge Raiders finished the 2019 season 8-2 under head coach Wayne Younger. The Raiders started the season with a five-game winning streak and had a three-game winning streak to end the regular season before being upset by Chamberlain 25-13 in the Class 5A playoffs.
The Raiders ended the regular season with a 24-17 win over Cocoa in the 40th Annual Barbecue Bowl on November 1. It was the third consecutive win for Rockledge in that game. With the win, Rockledge closed the all-time series gap to 23-17.
Rockledge was a run-first team in 2019, but that may balance out in 2020 with dual-threat quarterback Bryce Norton transferring from Viera. Norton completed 111 of his 187 passes for 1,529 yards and 10 touchdowns. He also rushed for 696 yards and eight touchdowns.
Elias Allen threw for 956 yards as the starting quarterback last season and ran for 306 yards and five touchdowns. He will be the leading rusher returning this season. Fellow senior Raheim Sanders led the receivers with 15 catches for 368 yards and two touchdowns. Rian Black had 15 receptions for 290 yards and one touchdown.
The offense lost a huge piece of their offense with the graduation of Ladarius Tennison, a jack of all trades. He caught 10 passes for 193 yards and two touchdowns but made his name as a running back and did it well, going for 661 yards on 74 carries and nine touchdowns. He also had a 92-yard kickoff return in the opener against Ware County. Tennison threw in 98 tackles and seven sacks on defense just for good measure.
Brevard County football fans will be able to see Tennison play at the University of Auburn this coming season.
Virgil Marshall also contributed to the running game with 201 yards and one touchdown. He had one 100-yard game.
The Rockledge defense 69.5 tackles a game last season, with 32 sacks, with Tennison leading in both categories. The defense should still be strong with the return of Zach Lovett, who had 93 tackles, to go along with Kenard Snyder’s 73. Sanders had just 17 tackles but eight of them resulted in yardage lost, including six sacks. Lovett and Jordan Love had four sacks apiece.
Sanders will likely take over the full-time kickoff return duties from Tennison. He had 225 yards in 2019.
The Raiders’ schedule is still being worked on, but key matchups will include a neutral matchup against Cedar Grove on August 21. The location is to be decided. They will play a road game against Eau Gallie on September 11 at 7:00 p.m. and play Viera the following week.
The 2020 Barbecue Bowl is set for October 30, at 7:00 p.m.