October has arrived. That means Week 6 of the high school football season. It is the official midpoint, time to gather our thoughts, to ponder what we’ve seen, what we’ve learned and what we still need to know.
Here are some items for your consideration:
1. Cocoa and Heritage are still the favorites.
The roster said Tigers coach John Wilkinson was right. Young players filled the defense, a unit with a championship history yet not a headliner in the front seven.
But were we overthinking? The Tigers opened with a 24-7 win at Palm Bay that left no doubt where the crown still lies.
Cocoa’s Chauncey Gardner gets Under Armour game jersey
Forget the 49-7 loss at IMG Academy in Bradenton three weeks ago. That team draws talent from across the nation with promises of producing scholarship players. Cocoa has shown itself to be a serious contender in Class 4A, if not the favorite.
However, Jacksonville Bolles will have something to say about it. Now No. 1 in the Associated Press poll of Florida sports writers, the Bulldogs came to Heritage and escaped with a 28-21 win.
The Panthers apparently took something away from that night, because last week’s upset of then No. 3 Kissimmee Osceola of Class 8A sent notice not only throughout the county but throughout the state: Heritage should not only be ranked in the 6A top 10, but it should be considered a contender for another deep playoff run.
2. There have been some surprises.
Holy Trinity over Melbourne Central Catholic? Tigers coach Nate Hooks sounded confident, but if Cocoa’s Tigers were young, the ones on Pineda Causeway were relative toddlers.
What has happened already on the Holy Trinity field was impressive and put the team in line for a playoff spot. If it can pull off another upset — and somehow John Carroll will also play in Melbourne, on Oct. 30 — the team will win a district title.
Eau Gallie was another young team with low expecations, but the Commodores have exceeded those. What Astronaut has already done is another eye opener, and a rather pleasant one to War Eagles fans who missed winning.
3. This may be the toughest cumulative schedule the county has ever played.
IMG Academy; Allen, Texas; Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward. Those three USA Today Super 25 teams all will have played Brevard schools after Cocoa visits the Cleveland area on Saturday.
A game between a Brevard school and a ranked team — whether nationally or statewide — has become a nearly weekly thing. Along with Bolles, Osceola and the three Super 25 teams, Lake Brantley, Kathleen, St. Augustine and Union County have played teams from this area.
Throw in games against Cocoa, Viera, Heritage, Palm Bay and Merritt Island, who have all gotten votes, and most teams in Brevard have either been ranked, played a ranked team or have a team on the schedule that is on the verge of being ranked.
4. District 14-5A proved to be even tougher than expected.
It’s one thing for Space Coast coach Jake Owens to say his team will play physical football. It’s another for the Vipers to go out and play toe-to-toe with one of Brevard’s most physical, Merritt Island.
It’s one thing for first-year Rockledge coach Wayne Younger to talk about teaching players to win. It’s another for the Raiders to match their 2014 win total by Week 3, convincingly.
One of those surprise teams will still be in the playoff hunt 24 hours from now, and they aren’t the only ones.
Separation week in Brevard high school football
5. We will learn plenty more tonight.
How good is Astronaut, really? Orlando Jones isn’t at the top of its game, but tonight’s meeting will tell us if the War Eagles can hope to play past Week 11.
If Merritt Island is going to play a fifth consecutive unbeaten district season, tonight’s game against Satellite is a must win. And in Titusville, either the Terriers or Palm Bay will take the inside lane in the race to the 14-5A title.
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @Brian_McCallum and at facebook.com/FLtoday.brianmccallum.
High school sports | floridatoday.com/sports/high-school-sports/
Palm Bay at Titusville, 7 p.m.
Viera at Melbourne, 7
Satellite at Merritt Island, 7
Space Coast at Rockledge, 7
Melbourne CC at Cocoa Beach, 7
Okeechobee at Heritage, 7
Orlando Jones at Astronaut, 7
Holy Trinity at Deltona Trinity Christian, 7
Faith Christian at Merritt Island Christian, 7
Cocoa at Lakewood (Ohio) St. Edward, 2