Through almost an entire half of football, Cocoa’s offense was routinely gashing Mainland’s defense. The Tigers scored 21 points in the opening 14 minutes, including scores of 55 and 45 yards, respectively.
Andrew Plummer was the first sign of life for the Buccaneers, intercepting Tigers quarterback Diego Arroyo and returning it 57 yards for a touchdown to cut Cocoa’s lead to 8 with 3:28 to play in the first half.
On the Tigers’ next offensive series, Mainland thought it made the stop it needed.
The Buccaneers were able to jar the ball loose from the arms of Tigers receiver Caziah Holmes after Holmes picked up 18 yards on a run. However, the ball bounced right into the arms of running back Willie Gaines, who sprinted 41 yards down the sideline for a Cocoa touchdown.
The Tigers powered past Mainland 44-27 on Thursday, Oct. 4, at Daytona Stadium. It was the Buccaneers first loss since Aug. 31.
“All I can say is that it was just a lucky play,” senior defensive tackle Kevon McCrary said. “We just weren’t clicking on defense. We were having brain farts.”
Plummer was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise disappointing outing for the Buccaneers (4-3, 2-0). In addition to his pick six, Plummer also caught a 5-yard touchdown pass over a defender in the third quarter.
He wasn’t too happy with how he played, though.
“I just grinded. I tried to put my team up. I had some positive plays, but I also had some negative ones, too,” said Plummer, who is currently committed to play football for the University of South Florida. “I had some missed blocks that could have changed the game."
He added: “We’ve got to execute. We just didn’t finish.”
But despite Cocoa’s dominance, the Buccaneers kept it a competitive game until the very end. Opportunities ran dry after the Buccaneers threw an interception down 10 with 3:29 left in the game.
“The best thing about tonight was that the kids were hurt, but they’re showing discipline,” Mainland coach Scott Wilson said. “One thing you don’t question here is our effort.”