WATCH: Cocoa Tigers Fall to Defending State Champ Cardinal Gibbons 21-19 in Class 4A State Championship

tigers seventh state championship appearance in program history

ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Tigers and Cardinal Gibbons are underway in the Class 4A State Championship Action Tonight. Space Coast Daily’s Juan Rodriguez reports from Fort Lauderdale.

ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Tigers running back OJ Ross ties the game up with a 3-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Cocoa Tigers are tied at 7-7 end of the 1st QTR of the Class 4A State championship in Fort Lauderdale.

ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Tigers tied with Cardinal Gibbons 7-7 Half. Halftime report with Space Coast Daily’s Juan Rodriguez and Zach Clark.

ABOVE VIDEO: Cardinal Gibbons takes a 14-7 lead over Cocoa Tigers after 14-yard touchdown run by running back Kamari Moulton. Cardinal Gibbons 14, Cocoa 7 10:00 4th QTR.

ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Tigers Football QB Davin Wydner sneaks in a 1 -yard touchdown run. Tigers failed a 2-point conversion. Cardinal Gibbons leads Cocoa 14-13 with 5 mins. left in the Class 4A State Championship game.

ABOVE VIDEO: Cocoa Tigers QB Davin Wydner connects with WR Kyon Calhoun to score a touchdown in the closing minutes, 2-point conversion failed. Cardinal Gibbons wins Class 4A State Championship 21-19.

POST GAME SHOW: Cardinal Gibbons defeat the Cocoa Tigers 21-19 in the Class 4A State Championship game in Fort Lauderdale.

The Cocoa Tigers Face Cardinal Gibbons in the FHSAA Class 4A State Championship in Ft. Lauderdale Dec. 16 (Cocoa Tiger Football FB image)

BREVARD COUNTY • COCOA, FLORIDA – The Cocoa Tigers fell short against the Cardinal Gibbons Chiefs Thursday night after 21-19 defeat in the FHSAA Class 4A State Championship Thursday night in Ft. Lauderdale.

For the Tigers (11-2), it was a game missed opportunities despite showing tremendous heart going toe-to-toe with the defending Class 4A State Champs

After both teams traded defensive blows in the first half, the game was tied 7-7 at the half 7-7. The game looked as if Cocoa was doing everything necessary to knock off the defending state champs heading into the fourth quarter. However, Cardinal Gibbons running back Kamari “Hulk” Moulton took over in the second half and willed the Chiefs to the finish line by scoring two touchdowns in the fourth quarter and finished the game with 28 carries, 173 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns.

The biggest moment in the game came with five minutes left in the fourth quarter. When Cocoa QB Davin Wynder sneaked in a 1-yard touchdown run, the Tigers chose to go for the two-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point and tying game. The two-point conversion failed, leaving Cardinal Gibbons with a one-point lead 14-13 with under five minutes to go.

Cocoa’s defense would eventually get a stop and despite 4th and 1-yard to go near midfield for Cardinal Gibbons, the Chiefs chose to pin Cocoa deep in their own end zone with a punt instead of going for it on fourth down. However, Cocoa’s offense stalled with an eventual turnover downs. Cardinal Gibbons would take full advantage of the turnover on downs and punch in a touchdown three minutes remaining in the game to go up 21-13.

The Tigers never gave up though. With the game on the line from their own 28 yard line, Tigers QB Davin Wydner utilized his great play-making ability by scrambling right from a broken down QB pocket to throw an absolute laser on inside post-route to WR Kyon Calhoun for 72 yards to close the score to 21-19 with less than two-minutes remaining.

After failing the two-conversion earlier in the quarter, Cocoa needed a two-point conversion to send the Class 4A State Championship into overtime. But the two-point conversion would fall just inches short as Cocoa ran a pitch play left to team leading rusher OJ Ross, only to be tripped up by Cardinal Gibbons at the 1-yard line mark.

The decision by Cocoa head coach Ryan Schneider to go for the two-point conversion will be debated amongst the Tiger faithful for the foreseeable months to come. However, some would contend the decision to go for the two-point conversion is consistent with how Coach Schneider has play called the entire year.

The game essentially encapsulated the season’s theme for the Tigers after beginning the season with four games, each decided by one point. During that early stretch, Cocoa was 3-1 with their only loss to Venice, who will play for the Class 8A State Championship on Saturday.

This Tigers team will be remembered for their tremendous poise under pressure, heart-pounding close finishes and a team that went out on their own sword by staying aggressive throughout the year, just falling short two-points short of knocking off the defending Class 4A State Champs.

BY THE NUMBERS

Cardinal Gibbons Game Leaders

◾Junior Running Back Kamari “Hulk” Moulton – 28 carries, 173 rushing yards, 2 touchdowns.

◾Junior Wide Receiver Jesse Anderson – 4 catches, 30 receiving yards, 1 touchdown.

◾Junior Kicker/Punter Christian Silverstein – 5 punts, 187 yards (37.4 yards per punt).

◾Junior Defensive End Broc Weaver – 7 total tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 4 sacks.

◾Junior Safety Tre’Mone Drisdom – 7 total tackles.

◾Senior Linebacker Tray Brown – 7 total tackles.

◾Junior Defensive Back Adonis Allen – 6 total tackles (4 solo).

Cocoa Tigers Game Leaders

◾Senior Quarterback Davin Wydner – 19-for-37 for 180 passing yards, 2 touchdowns (1 rush, 1 pass), 1 interception. Wydner also added 14 carries for 30 rushing yards.

◾Senior Running Back OJ Ross – 22 carries for 124 rushing yards, 1 touchdown.

◾Senior Wide Receiver Jmariyae Robinson – 11 targets (8 catches), 43 receiving yards.

◾Junior Wide Receiver Kyon Calhoun – 1 target (1 catch), 72 receiving yards, 1 touchdown.

◾Junior Safety Cedrick Hawkins – 12 total tackles (8 solo), 1 interception.

◾Sophomore Linebacker Samadrae Hawkins – 12 total tackles.

◾Senior Defensive Back Malik Lewis – 5 total tackles.

Team Stats

– Cardinal Gibbons: 17 First Downs, 179 rushing yards, 38 passing yards, 217 total yards (18:30 Time of Possession), 10 penalties (85 yards)

– Cocoa: 19 First Downs, 158 rushing yards, 110 passing yards, 268 total yards (29:30 Time of Possession), 9 penalties (80 yards)

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