Cocoa VS Cardinal Gibbons Football State Championship Preview
The 2021 Florida high school football season will conclude this week when the Class 8A-4A state championship games are played from Thursday night to Saturday night. While each of these games will be must-see in their own right, the most intriguing contest is actually the very first one as Cocoa takes on Cardinal Gibbons in the Class 4A state title game.
Cocoa enters with an 11-1 record on the season and has won nine consecutive games with their lone loss having come back in early September, a 21-20 road loss to Class 8A power Venice. Arguably the top team in Class 4A throughout the season, the Tigers have outscored opponents a combined 130-45 so far through the playoffs, a three-game stretch that includes wins over previously undefeated The Villages Charter, as well as two weeks ago in the semifinal round over Bolles.
For a Tigers offense that averages 34.7 PPG, Cocoa are led by star running back OJ Ross, who has compiled a total of 1,791 yards and 36 touchdowns on the ground this season, as well as others including quarterback Davin Wydner (3,328 yards, 21 TD) and receivers Jmariyae Robinson (1,279 yards, 7 TD), Donte Cook (851 yards, 9 TD), and more.
Defensively, Cocoa has allowed an average of 20.4 PPG to opponents across a tough schedule and are led by many notable players including leading tackler Samadrae Hawkins (151), as well as others including Cedrick Hawkins, and Lavel Bryant.
Cardinal Gibbons, on the other hand, sits at 10-2 on the season and also owns multiple impressive wins, with their lone losses on the year coming to American Heritage and St. Thomas Aquinas back in October. The Chiefs have outscored opponents a combined 114-51 so far during the playoffs and have two impressive wins the last two weeks over Gulliver Prep and Lakewood.
The Chiefs offense has averaged a combined 33.7 PPG on the season and are headlined by an impressive running game featuring running back Kamari Moulton (904 yards, 16 TD), and quarterback Dylan Rizk (1,933 yards, 16 TD), who also has multiple receivers who contribute almost equally such as Davon Kiser, Jesse Anderson, and Elisha Edwards.
The Cardinal Gibbons defense has also impressed this season only allowing 16.7 PPG to opponents led by star pass rusher Mason Thomas (62 tackles, 11 sacks), leading tackler Tray Brown, and Greg Otten.
For two teams that stack up fairly evenly across the board, this game, as you’d expect, will probably be close throughout. For a game that’s a toss-up when picking a winner, a late score in the fourth quarter will likely decide who is crowned the 2021 Class 4A state champion.
Written by: Matt Melton