ARLINGTON, Texas -- Dallas Skyline gained revenge for a disappointing 2010 Kirk Herbstreit Classic performance against another Florida school with a 36-20 victory over Cocoa on Monday afternoon at Cowboys Stadium.
For Skyline quarterback Devante Kincade in particular, the win provided a measure of retribution for last year’s 31-3 Herbstreit loss to Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas.
“Devante was a sophomore last year,’’ Skyline coach Reginald Samples said. “He made mistakes and when he did, he put his head down. When I thought he might be starting that again today, I yelled at him pretty good.’’
Kincade didn’t give his coach many opportunities to yell, completing 14-of-17 passes for 171 yards. He was especially effective during a pair of first-half touchdown drives as Skyline, No. 3 in the ESPNDallas.com Class 5A Top Ten, improved to 2-0.
A year ago, the Raiders were somewhat in awe of their surroundings.
“Today,’’ Kincade said, “we were very confident. We played our hardest.’’
It didn’t start out well for Skyline or Kincade.
Cocoa’s Lorenzo Pratt returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for quick 6-0 lead and Kincade was sacked on the Raiders’ first play.
But near the end of the first period, Kincade appeared to relax and began finding open receivers.
Peter Jinkens capped a 70-yard drive with a 6-yard scoring run and Thomas Johnson added a 2-point conversion run for an 8-6 lead, and Skyline would not trail again.
Johnson scored from the 18 and the conclusion of a 68-yard drive in the second period.
Cocoa (0-2) twice pulled within two points, the last time after Skyline muffed a punt at its 1.
Jinkens returned the lead to nine points with a 3-yard scoring run late in the third period. It came at the end of a 66-yard drive.
Following an interception by defensive lineman Kerrick Huggins, the Raiders tacked on one more insurance touchdown in the fourth quarter on a 37-yard run by David Greene.
Skyline’s defense limited Cocoa’s running attack, the main reason for the 38-game winning streak it took into the season, to 39 yards on 30 carries.
Said Samples: “Defense is what we hang our hat on around here. We’ve had great players on defense in the past. But this group is special because we’re stronger as a unit.’’
It is a defense that provides security for Kincade.
“It feels good to know those guys on defense have my back if I make a mistake,’’ Kincade said.