ORLANDO, Fla. – The Raines defense held Cocoa to 3 points on three possessions inside the 10-yard line in the third quarter as the Vikings earned the school's third state football championship, winning the 4A title game 27-13.
It looked as if it might get out of hand early, when Raines drew first blood with 4:17 to play in the first quarter on a 5-yard run by senior running back Brandon Marshall, Raines' all-time leading rusher, to cap an 8-play drive.
On the ensuing possession, Cocoa moved to the Raines 15-yard line before fumbling the ball away. The Vikings took over and marched 66 yards in 10 plays, including an 8-yard touchdown run by Jamond Handy to stretch the lead to 14-0 with 7:51 left in the second quarter.
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Cocoa responded. Tigers quarterback Diego Arroyo connected with running back Willie Gaines for a 42-yard gain to the Vikings 5-yard line, setting up an Arroyo shovel pass to Caziah Holmes for a 4-yard touchdown to cut the Raines lead in half, midway through the second quarter. Raines took a 14-7 lead into halftime.
After forcing a Vikings' punt on Raines' first possession of the second half, Cocoa cut the lead to four on an Ales Petruzzello 22-yard field goal. kicked a field goal to make it 14-10 with 5:33 remaining in the third quarter.
The Vikings defense made a huge stop late in the third quarter. On third-and-goal from the Raines 1-yard line, the Vikings defense forced a fumble that was recovered by Cocoa. Then the Tigers' field goal attempt was blocked, keeping the game at 14-10.
On the next Tigers drive, Raines defensive back Uriah Ratliff intercepted Arroyo to end the Cocoa drive.
Cocoa settled for a field goal with 5:13 to play to draw to within 1 point when Barron Coates, put back in the game at quarterback, found Marshall on a 74-yard touchdown to stretch the lead to 21-13.
The Vikings clinched the win when Treyvon Hobbs intercepted an Arroyo pass and returned it 66 yards for a touchdown to give the Vikings a 27-13 lead with 3:02 to play. By then, the celebration was on.
Raines entered the game on a 12-game winning streak, having won every game since a 1 point loss to Lee in the season opener. Just like last year, the Vikings won out, ending the season with a state championship-winning victory over Cocoa.