Cocoa shows Holy Trinity what a state powerhouse looks like


Holy Trinity's Dee Marvine (right), catches a pass and heads upfield during Friday night's game at Cocoa. It was a rough night for Holy Trinity, which lost 58-0.

VIERA VOICE Caroline Layman

Under the best of circumstances, it wasn’t going to be pleasant for Holy Trinity to face perennial state football powerhouse Cocoa on the road.

When Cocoa lost 48-31 on the road to Venice a week ago, Friday’s homecoming game against Holy Trinity become more of a mismatch. Cocoa doesn’t lose two in a row too often.

The Tigers, wearing the orange and black, built a 37-0 lead at the end of one quarter and coasted to 58-0 victory.

The second half was played with a running clock and the two quarters were shortened to 10 minutes apiece.

“I’m glad to have the opportunity to be on the same football field as Cocoa,’’ Holy Trinity coach Nate Hooks Jr. said. “We’ll benefit from it two ways as we get playoff points for playing a bigger school (with a great record). And, two, we get the experience of playing a team with all of this tradition.’’

Cocoa won the Class 4A state championship in 2016 and finished as the Class 4A state runner-up in both 2017 and 2018. It also won state titles in 2008, 2009 and 2010.

With the win, Cocoa improved to 6-2. Holy Trinity, which fell to 5-4, will conclude the regular season with a 7 p.m. home game against Indian Rocks Christian (3-5) next Friday. If Holy Trinity wins, it will clinch a playoff berth in Class 3A.

Cocoa took a quick 2-0 lead when it forced Holy Trinity to punt after stopping the navy and gold Tigers on three plays from scrimmage. Holy Trinity punter James Linnabary was forced to nudge the ball out of the end zone for a safety after the snap from center sailed past him and into the end zone. If Linnabary had not pushed the ball out of the end zone, Cocoa would have recovered the football for a touchdown.

Amarion Gaines fielded the ensuing free kick at his 23-yard line, ran to the right and cut to the center for a 67-yard kickoff return. Nick King kicked the first of seven successful extra points as Cocoa forged a 9-0 lead with 10 minutes, 53 seconds to play in the first quarter.

Ja’Lon Hudgins was sacked for a 9-yard loss on fourth-and-2 as Cocoa took possession at the Holy Trinity 19 with 9:02 to play in the opening quarter.

Gaines ran to the left for 14 yards on first down and, two plays later, Diego Arroyo ran 2 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback keeper with 7:27 to play in the first quarter.

Ja’Quez Hicks intercepted a pass by Hudgins and returned it 61 yards for a touchdown with 6:11 remaining in the opening quarter. King’s PAT kick made it 23-0.

Kevin Chandler was hit behind the line of scrimmage on a desperation handoff for a 5-yard loss on fourth down as Cocoa took over at the Holy Trinity 35 on the ensuing possession.

Four plays later, Caziah Holmes ran 12 yards to the right for a touchdown with 3:40 to play in the quarter. King’s PAT kick increased the margin to 30-0.

Arroyo ran on consecutive carries for 12 and 17 yards to set up Gaines’ 9-yard scoring run with 1:12 to play in the first quarter. King’s PAT kick made it 37-0.

“This was typical Cocoa,’’ Hooks said. “They were bigger, stronger and faster than us. This was an opportunity to play against and compete against a much better team than us. A game like this will prepare us for the playoffs. We won’t see anyone in the playoffs like Cocoa --- even if we make it to the championship game.’’

Arroyo threw an 11-yard scoring pass to Donte Cook with 10:51 to play in the second quarter as Cocoa extended its lead to 44-0 on King’s ensuing extra point.

“We were able to run a lot of plays, and I told the team that our effort and execution was good,’’ Hooks said. “There is absolutely no reason to hang our heads tonight.’’

Gaines ran 9 yards to the right for a touchdown as time expired in the first half. King’s extra point made it 51-0.

The lone score of the second half came on Hicks’ second pick six of the contest. As Holy Trinity threatened to score, Hicks intercepted Hudgins’ pass at his own 11 and returned it down the left sideline for an 89-yard score. King’s extra point came just before time elapsed with the running clock.

Hudgins completed 12 of 25 passes for 74 yards and three interceptions. Chandler caught nine passes for 62 yards.

Arroyo completed 10 of 14 passes for 100 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for another touchdown.

Gaines rushed for 31 yards and two touchdowns on six carries. Cocoa finished with 79 yards rushing on 19 carries.