ORLANDO, Fla. – Raines quarterback Ivory Durham IV, the school's all-time leading passer, connected with Kamaree Noble on an eight yard touchdown with 5:41 remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Vikings a 13-10 win over Cocoa, earning earn the school it's second-ever state football championship.
"It was meant to be," said Durham, who rallied the Vikings back after losing the season opener to Lee. "(The Raines fans) were behind us since game one. We lost and we said we didn't want to feel that feeling no more. Then 13 straight games, we came out on top and we're the state champions."
Defense dominated for both teams, but Raines was able to take the lead in the first quarter on a 72-yard touchdown run by Brandon Marshall. Raines missed a two-point conversion and the Vikings didn't score again until the fourth quarter.
"I knew something special was coming, but I knew it wouldn't be easy," said Raines head coach Derran Wiley after the game. "Here were are, man. Raines-nation is celebrating."
Cocoa, who beat Bolles last year in the state championship game, could manage only a field goal in the first half against the aggressive Vikings defense. The Tigers, though, jumped on top in the fourth quarter after a 33 yard run by Willie Gaines set up the Tigers from the 2-yard line. Gaines scored from there to give Cocoa their first lead of the game at 10-6.
Marshall finished the game with 139 yards rushing. Durham completed 14-of-22 passes for 129 yards and the touchdown. The Vikings overcame 191 penalty yards, thanks largely to their defense that shut down the powerful Cocoa ground game, limiting the defending champions to just 91 yards on 36 carries.
"We knew that they were one dimensional. We took their running game away. They didn't have nothing," said Raines middle linebacker Elijah Spivey. "We knew it was going to be a physical game. It was a dog fight and we came out on top."
Raines was the last Duval County public school to win a state football championship, winning in 1997. Thursday, they repeated.
Three more area teams will play for state titles. University Christian faces Champagnat Catholic Friday at 10 a.m., Baker County plays Plantation American Heritage at 3 p.m. Friday and Bartram Trail takes on Venice at 3 p.m. Saturday.