Bolstering defensive line highlights Hawks' spring


Viera High's Miguel Rodriguez, shown here celebrating one of his 19 sacks, was a first-team all-state defensive end for the Hawks last season.


With 15 returning starters, the Viera High football team will enter spring practice in great shape for the upcoming 2017 season.

But that doesn’t mean the Hawks don’t have some holes to fill.

The position with the biggest spotlight on it this spring will be the defensive line where the Hawks will not only graduate three starters in Marco Foreman, Justin Harrison and Jaylin Wilson, but three players who will all be playing in college.

“We need to secure up the D-line,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “That will be the goal for spring. It definitely will be a wide open competition.”

Spring football began for Viera on April 24. The Hawks will play their spring game on May 24 at Heritage in a jamboree featuring Viera, Heritage and East Ridge. The three teams will each face each other for a half.

While Viera will be looking to fill spots on the line and in the secondary this spring, the defense certainly won’t be lacking for playmakers. Defensive end Miguel Rodriguez was named Class 7A first-team all-state last season after recording 96 tackles with 19 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, four pass break ups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

The Hawks also are loaded at the linebacker spots with returners Brock Holland, David Eaton, Kyler Doane and Class 7A first-team all-state pick Brandon Mays. As a junior, Mays had 122 tackles, five sacks, two interceptions, three fumble recoveries, four pass break ups and two defensive touchdowns.

Viera’s secondary has some openings, but also a pair of key returners in Garrett Kaminski and Cortez Reid.

Offensively, the Hawks have three top receivers back in Quinton Richard, Travis Jones and Sean Atkins. Up front, Max Lawson, Gavin Lamp, Gio Allen and Chris Murphy all saw extensive playing time last season. Andrew Hart is the likely candidate for the fifth starting spot.

The top candidates at running back will be Jarin Lewis and Andre Jones.

Back to lead the group will be quarterback Tim DeMorat.

After transferring to Viera last year, DeMorat stepped into the starting role at the start of last season and helped the Hawks reach the regional finals. Now entering his second year at Viera, DeMorat should be much more comfortable in the system as he prepares to take his team through what should be another challenging season.

Viera’s 2017 schedule will be revealed next month.

“I expect a lot out of Tim this year,” Mays said. “He’s been around. He knows the guys. He’s not coming into a huddle with faces he doesn’t recognize. He should have a great year this year.

“He’ll come into this year as the man. Hopefully, he’s progressed like we think
he has.”