Deplancke makes most of his opportunity as Hawks top Eau Gallie 55-7


Viera High's Marco Foreman (center) reacts after sacking Eau Gallie quarterback Matt Wilson (No. 5) during Friday night's Kickoff Classic. The Hawks won the game 55-7.


After all the summer workouts, all the talk about the upcoming season, the Viera High football team finally got down to business Friday night.

And business was booming.

Despite playing without injured running back Zack Blanch, the Hawks offense was dominating and the defense forced five turnovers in a 55-7 victory over visiting Eau Gallie High in the Kickoff Classic for both teams.

Junior running back Brennen Deplancke got the start for Blanch, who was on crutches nursing a high ankle sprain, and responded with a pair of touchdowns – one on the ground and one through the air – to lead a balanced Hawks’ attack.

“I was excited about it, but me and Zack are really close,” Deplancke said of his opportunity. “When he got hurt, I was like, ‘I’ve got to be ready.’

“I was just ready to show out tonight.”

Viera quarterback Hayden Kingston threw four touchdown passes – including two to Tre Nixon – as the Hawks were able to take advantage of a young Eau Gallie team.

Deplancke, who played on varsity as a sophomore last season, tried to use the experience to not only learn from Branch, but to set himself up for a bigger role in 2015.

“I watched Zack, I learned from Zack and I just took that into consideration (during) the offseason and summer workouts and practice,” Deplancke sad. “Whenever Zack goes down, or he needs a break, I want to get in there and do the exact same thing as Zack.”

He certainly looked the part on Viera’s opening drive, capping things off with an 8-yard scoring run. His second touchdown came on a 9-yard swing pass from Kingston.

Trevor Merritt scored on a 19-yard run – his only carry of the game – as the Hawks gave a number of players some work Friday night with successful results.

“We never, obviously, want to lose Zack,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “But having Deplancke come in … Trevor Merritt looked good, and he only touched the ball one time. Malek Folston ran the ball. Will Champion ran the ball. Mike Vega. Mike Brunotte. We had a bunch of guys that came in and could control the ball for us.”

Promising sophomore wide receiver Quinton Richard also had a good night, catching a 4-yard TD pass from Kingston. Donovan Jackson and Alex Cabrera also had solid games, showcasing the Hawks’ offensive versatility.

Nixon, meanwhile, caught touchdown passes of 24 and four yards on the night.

Senior quarterback Zach Trantham finished off the scoring for the Hawks with a 4-yard touchdown run for the only score of the second half.

Defensively, the Hawks got interceptions from Malek Folston and Jay Boyd, with Boyd turning his theft into a 43-yard pick six. Marco Foreman had a big sack early on and last year’s leading tackler, Brandon Mays, was solid once again. Blake Hoover and Vega each had a fumble recovery.

While was happy with the overall play of his team, Mays and the coaching staff will still have a few things to get corrected before next week’s regular season opener against Rockledge.

“We had a few more penalties than I wanted,” Mays said. “Defensively, we’ve got to shore up tackling a little better. We need to be more physical on defense.”

The Hawks expect Blanch to return next week, and while he is certainly vital to what they want to do – Mays said a few weeks ago the senior “makes us go” – it must be nice to know that if they decide to rest him, Deplancke & Co. can get the job done.

To see a gallery of photos from this game, visit: