COCOA The most efficient offense scores with one-play drives.
Cocoa High did that more than once on Friday in a 49-7 win over Astronaut for an eighth consecutive district championship. Timmy Pratt, who scored on his first two touches, rushed 10 times for 203 yards.
Astronaut had clinched a playoff spot the previous week with its sweep of the rest of District 5-4A. The War Eagles will play a regional quarterfinal game on the road in three weeks, while Cocoa will be at home.
For all the offensive success the Tigers had, it was the smothering defense that set the stage. Joaquin Lennear made the first big play on a fourth-down run by the War Eagles that he stopped less than a yard short.
“They’re tough and physical,” Cocoa coach John Wilkinson said of his defense. “Our front six, seven is pretty good. They’re fast.”
In the first half, Cocoa scored on one of every five plays, but the ratio was more dramatic in the early going. On the Tigers’ fourth play and his first carry, Timmy Pratt went 36 yards for a touchdown.
On the next possession, Qunelius Phillips intercepted a War Eagles pass and returned it to the 16. On the next play, Pratt scored, and on the first play of the next possession, Howard Stewart exploded for a 58-yard touchdown run.
Having run six plays, Cocoa led by three touchdowns.
“We just kept on hitting the middle,” Pratt said. “Then they found a way to clog up the middle, so we started running outside.”
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Pratt hit the middle again in the second half for a 52-yard run on the first play following an Astronaut score and kickoff. He dove for the end zone but was marked a yard short, creating a two-play scoring drive when Pratt went in from the 1.
Two minutes later, again on a one-play drive, he scored on a 62-yard run. Javon Spencer scored on a 2-yarder in the fourth quarter.
Astronaut’s special teams, a War Eagles tradition, scored on the second-half kickoff, forcing a fumble. Cameron Ockerman picked up the ball as he ran into the end zone.
The athletic play of the night belonged to Chauncey Gardner on a 37-yard scoring pass, another one-play drive. Gardner stripped the Astronaut quarterback, and Deundrell Turpin recovered for Cocoa at the 37. Then on offense, Bruce Judson passed to Gardner, who managed to secure the ball and dive over the goal line while also winning a tip battle with the defensive back.
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High school sports | floridatoday.com/sports/high-school-sports/
Cocoa 49, Astronaut 7
Astronaut 0 0 7 0 — 7
Cocoa 21 7 14 7 — 49
HOW THEY SCORED
C — Timmy Pratt 36 run (Alex Petruzello kick), 8:23
C — Pratt 16 run (Petruzello kick), 7:20
C — Howard Stewart 58 run (Petruzello kick), 5:23
C — Chauncey Gardner 37 pass from Bruce Judson (Petruzello kick), 11:42
A — Cameron Ockerman 2 fumble return (Tristan Schultheis kick), 11:45
C — Pratt 1 run (Petruzello kick), 11:03
C — Javon Spencer 2 run (Petruzello kick), 9:27
Rushing: A — Javian Hawkins 12-64, Devell Taylor 13-14, Jordan Taylor 2-4, Jordan Wojciechowski 4-(-22); C — Pratt 10-203, Stewart 6-87, Judson 6-27, Gardner 3-23, Javon Spencer 2-10, Juwan Armstrong 1-6. Passing: A — Wojciechowski 3-7-0 39, Brad Canarie 0-4-1 0, D. Taylor 0-1-0 0; C — Judson 1-4-0 37. Receiving: A — J. Taylor 2-34, Ockerman 1-9; C — Gardner 1-37.