Cocoa trounces Thomas Jefferson
Written by: Josh Funk on Sunday, September 5th, 2010
TURTLE CREEK, Pa. – As has become seemingly old habit for Thomas Jefferson, if head coach Bill Cherpak feels he has a size advantage on the lines, he usually tries to exploit it by pounding the football.
Too bad Cocoa snuffed out the Jaguars’ game plan.
Cocoa (2-0) extended its winning streak to 26 consecutive games and bulldozed Thomas Jefferson (0-1) 43-7 Saturday afternoon in the “Rally at the Wolvarena,” stuffing the Jaguar ground game to an un-Thomas Jefferson-like minus-5 yards on 28 carries.
TJ’s game plan couldn’t entirely have been plowing and pounding, however. The vacancy at quarterback created when 2,000-yard passer Sam Johnston graduated left three potential candidates – a senior, a junior and a sophomore – competing for the starting job.
Senior Ryan Crouse won the nod as the field general, but to open the game, Thomas Jefferson came out running a single-wing offensive scheme, and it yielded 14 yards on eight plays with a single first down.
“I think we’re going to be very conservative,” Cherpak said. “We want four to five yards on every play. We thought if we could do that, we’d be in good shape.”
Cocoa head coach John Wilkinson had an inkling that TJ would try to pound the ball.
“We had a feeling of what they were going to do,” Wilkinson said. “And if I’m the opposing coach playing us, I would have done the same thing (against a bunch of pipsqueaks).”
Cocoa dresses only 37 players, and most of its roster is comprised of players under 6’0 in height and lighter than 220 pounds in weight. But Cocoa always packs a punch. They held Thomas Jefferson’s offense out of the end zone all game long.
“I firmly believe playing good teams like Thomas Jefferson makes us better,” Wilkinson said.
Cocoa came at Thomas Jefferson with a variety of formations – ranging from the Air Force to the Wing-T to the shotgun. While TJ was hell-bent on shutting down Rutgers commit Chevelle Buie, he still found a way to score three total touchdowns, and other Tigers also stepped up, too.
Buie scored two rushing touchdowns on 15 carries (23 yards rushing for #4) and caught two passes for 21 yards and another touchdown. His 10-yard touchdown reception gave Cocoa a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. His two touchdown runs pushed Cocoa’s margin to 14-7 and 35-7, respectively.
Sophomore Tarean Folston (7 rushes, 64 yards, TD) and senior Devonte Jones (13, 85) helped pace a Tiger ground attack that chewed up 174 yards on 35 carries. Folston’s 12-yard scoring run with 6:08 left in the game invoked the mercy rule and a running clock for the duration of the game.
Thomas Jefferson’s lone touchdown came on a 35-yard interception return by TJ Matrascia which tied things up at 7.
Cocoa led 28-7 at halftime, adding first half scores on a three-yard fumble return and a 45-yard punt return.
“We had no answer for their speed and we had no answer for their athleticism,” Cherpak said of Cocoa.
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