November 24, 2023

South Sumter High Football Faces Cocoa in Regional Final Rematch

3.2 min read| Published On: November 24th, 2023|

By Kyle Coppola

South Sumter High Football Faces Cocoa in Regional Final Rematch

3.2 min read| Published On: November 24th, 2023|

In a highly anticipated Regional Final showdown, the South Sumter High Raider football team is poised to face off against the Cocoa Tigers, marking a rematch of last year’s contest. While the Raiders aim to avenge their 35-7 loss from the previous year, Cocoa is no stranger to the pressure, having battled through an overtime thriller in the State Championship against Florida State University High School, ultimately winning 38-31 in overtime last year. Cocoa is trying to get back to the state championship but the Radiers now stand in their way.

(#7 Malakhi Boone and #11 Jake Mendahl make a tackle. Boone leads the defense in total tackles and also has 22 tackles for a loss. Both players will need to play the best game of their careers against Cocoa.)

This year, optimism runs high for the South Sumter team, especially regarding their defense’s potential impact on thwarting Cocoa’s high-flying offense. Sporting an impressive 11-1 record this season, with their sole loss against Hawthorne, the Raiders enter the game with a perfect 7-0 home record and a determination to secure a coveted spot in the State Semi-Finals.

Key to the Raiders’ defensive prowess is junior standout #7 Malakhi Boone, boasting an impressive 90 tackles, 22 tackles for a loss, and 7 sacks. Senior #30 Ty Kadur, with a 5.0 GPA, leads the team in sacks and employs his intelligence to outsmart opponents at the defensive end position. Senior defensive back #11 Jake Mendahl also has 88 tackles and 19 tackles for a loss. The Raiders interception leader is #13 Doby Gibson who contributes significantly to the team’s defensive strength.

(Ty Kadur #30 is one of the leaders on defense. He will be challenged by the massive offensive line that Cocoa has. Kadur has impressed us on and off the field. Kadur has a 5.0 GPA along with being a leader on defense.)

Offensively, the Raiders showcase versatile playmakers, including #26 Tyrese Keiler, the team’s leading rusher with 861 total yards and 18 offensive touchdowns. Ja’kyrian Turner adds depth with 11 offensive touchdowns, providing a multi-faceted offensive threat for the Raiders.

(#26 Tyrese Keiler has been stellar for the Raiders this year. Here he runs the ball against Titusville. The offensive line will need to make plenty of holes for him against a stout Cocoa defense.)

Cocoa, standing at 11-1, presents a formidable challenge with a powerful offense led by sophomore quarterback Brady Hart, who boasts an impressive 3,034 passing yards and 36 touchdown throws. Receivers Jayban Boggs over 1,100 yards receiving and has 20 total touchdowns. Boggs gets help from fellow receiver CJ Bragg who has 6 touchdowns catches. Cocoa also employs a stout running back Latrison Lane. Lane has 800 yards rushing and 11 touchdowns. He has done all this in a pass heavy offensive scheme which is very impressive.

(#13 Brady Hart has offers from FAU, Pittsburgh, Virginia Tech, UCF, USF, Iowa State, Texas A&M and Penn State, He is one of the best quarterbacks in the state of Florida.)

The offensive line for Cocoa is scary. These monsters include #77 Damian Seymour a 6”5 Senior tackle who weighs 320lbs, #76 is Xavier Solis a 6”2 315lb guard and 6”3 Eddie Taylor who plays tackle, is 260lbs. That is a ton of weight up front for this South Sumter defense to get through and it will present a ton of challenges for them.

(The Cocoa Tigers are hungry to get back into the State Semi-Finals once again.)

While South Sumter may be considered the underdog, head coach Ty Lawrence is undoubtedly working on a strategic game plan. The Raiders will need to get through a Cocoa defense that is led by Seniors Dai’veon Parham a 6”3 200lb linebacker who has 110 tackles this year, and senior Samadrae Hawkins who leads the team in total tackles. Perhaps no one is as scary as Javion Hilson who is a junior defensive end. Hilson is a 6”5 230lb defensive end and has 13 sacks on the year. He is a monstrous player and the South Sumter tackles will have a difficult time with him.

(South Sumter coach Ty Lawrence far right has a big task ahead of him. While South Sumter is an underdog they held Cocoa to 35 points last year. If the offense can get going, there could be potential for an upset. But facing one of the best quarterbacks in the state will be a tough task.)

As Thanksgiving approaches, the Raiders aim to avoid indulgence, staying focused on the challenging task at hand. Regardless of the outcome, South Sumter is set to make Lake County proud, hopefully an upset is in the cards this Friday night! Go Raiders!

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About the Author: Kyle Coppola

Kyle Coppola was born in Newton, Massachusetts and received his Bachelor of Fine Arts in Communications from Curry College in 2016. After traveling to Florida on a family vacation, he decided he could not get enough of the warm weather and made the move from snowy Massachusetts to central Florida 8 years ago.

For the last decade Kyle has gained valuable experience in social media content creation, marketing and sales, writing, video production, sports announcing and even broadcasting for local radio stations, such as FM 102.9 in The Villages and FM 91.5 in Massachusetts. Every year he volunteers at The Villages Charter High School as a play-by-play sports announcer for the football games as well as a public address announcer for the basketball games, including the annual Battle at The Villages Tournament.

Outside the office Kyle is a husband and father to two beautiful girls along with their cat. In his spare time he likes to spend time with his family, travel, play golf and swim. He is also a huge sports junkie and even bigger motorsports fan and loves to attend racing events when he can.

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