BROOKSVILLE — Cocoa has been one of the most successful programs in the state the Past six seasons. The Tigers have at least made the state semifinals and won three consecutive state titles (2008-10) in that span.
The fast-paced Tigers (3-1) overwhelmed Hernando on Friday night 47-9 by controlling the line of scrimmage and playing fast and physical defense.
"Our goal is to make the playoffs," Leopards coach Dwayne Mobley said. "I didn't think we played to the best of our ability tonight. We got guys doing selfish things, and we as coaches have to put guys in that do what we ask them. But give Cocoa credit. They're fast, big, and well-coached."
Cocoa running back Lorrenzo Pratt had 28 carries for 174 yards and three touchdowns in the first half.
The closest Hernando (1-3, 1-0) got was 7-3 early in the second quarter when Habib Garcia booted a 31-yard field, but the Tigers led at 21-3 at the half.
Cocoa forced Hernando into three interceptions, including one that was returned 77 yards for a touchdown by linebacker Chauncey Gardner for a 31-3 Tigers' lead in the third quarter.
There were some bright spots for Hernando. Tyler Kline found a leaping Troy Grant Hambrick in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown pass.
Senior Justin Roberts hustled to scoop the ball up in the end zone after a blocked punt for a safety rather than yielding a touchdown. Junior defensive lineman Mike Jones had a sack in the second quarter.
Cocoa racked up 378 total yards while holding Hernando to 118, including minus-13 yards in the third quarter.
Two Hernando players, K.D. Hagood and Dallas Maclachan, were also ejected during the game.