Kingston, Viera secondary key historic 38-8 playoff victory over Harmony
Viera cornerbck Trevor Merritt reacts after intercepting Harmony quarterback Jamison Munns during Friday night's Class 7A regional quarterfinal. Merritt's pick set up a touchdown and was one of three interceptions on the night for the Hawks, who won 38-8.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
This time, the Viera Hawks weren’t going to be denied.
Playing in just the second postseason game in school history, Viera scored on all five of its first half possessions – and even added a pick six to boot – on the way to a 38-8 victory over visiting Harmony Friday night in a Class 7A regional quarterfinal.
It was the first playoff win in Viera history.
“I said at the begging of the game, everything we did in the regular season, we had already accomplished,” Viera senior quarterback Hayden Kingston said. “We won the district. We got a home playoff game.
“Now, let’s get this senior class to put our own mark on this season and do something for ourselves. This playoff win is that mark.”
And the Hawks aren’t done.
Viera (7-4) will host Martin County (8-3) next week in the Class 7A regional semifinals. Martin County upset District 5 winner St. Cloud 48-31 Friday night.
So as much as the Hawks wanted to celebrate their first playoff win in the 10-year history of the school, they know they still have work to do.
“It feels great, but we’ve definitely got to get back to work,” Viera cornerback Trevor Merritt said. “Even though it was 38-8, we’ve still got a lot of work to do. We’re going to celebrate this weekend and get back to work on Monday.”
Viera has certainly been on a roll of late.
Since coming back from their bye week, the Hawks have outscored their final three opponents by a score of 139-20.
On Friday night, it was Kingston throwing for two touchdowns and running for two more while the defense and special teams combined for five Harmony turnovers, including three interceptions.
“We’re kind of clicking right now,” Hawks coach Kevin Mays said. “We’ve got to cut back on the penalties on both sides (of the ball). Our guys came in with a lot of emotion and (were) hyped up. They’ve got to be able to control that.”
Harmony (9-2) certainly had no answer for the Hawks all night.
Kingston got things started when he hit Jamyson Boyd for a 30-yard touchdown on fourth-and-2 on Viera’s first offensive possession.
An interception by Trevor Merritt set up the Hawks’ next touchdown, which came on a 10-yard run by Kingston, and then Malek Folston really spoiled Harmony’s night by stepping in front of a pass thrown by Harmony quarterback Jamison Munns and returning it 41 yards for the score.
Folston said he saw Munns scrambling around as the play broke down and immediately knew where the Harmony quarterback was going with the ball.
“I just jumped on it right away,” Folston said. “I didn’t practice all week – I had a bit of a hip problem – but I told myself I had to wait until it loosened up.
“Once I caught it, I had to go. Gotta go. Gotta go.”
Viera would also get a 44-yard pass from Kingston to Alex Cabrera, a 30-yard field goal by Trey Schaneville and a 14-yard TD run by Kingston, which was set up by a fumbled kickoff return by Harmony.
Will Chmpion recovered the fumble for Viera and also hand an interepion.
With the Hawks leading 38-0, the team was able to pull its offensive starters at halftime and then gradually the defensive ones as well.
After a summer spent staring at the score of Viera’s of first-ever playoff game – a 48-0 loss to Charlotte, which Mays posted in the team’s weight room – the Hawks are finally free of that memory.
“Every time we were lifting weights and we got tired, we would look at that scoreboard and say, ‘OK, we’ve got to finish,’” Merritt said. “That’s all it was. We had to finish. We hated seeing 48-0.
“It was major motivation.”
Folston, who transferred to Viera from Merritt Island, was asked about what has impressed him the most since becoming a Hawk
“We go through a little phase, but once we know something big is going to happen, a switch comes on in everybody,” he said. “And once that switch comes on, it turns me on, too. We know what we’ve got to do.”
The Hawks have their eyes on the big prize, of course. But whether a state title comes their way or not, nothing can take away what this year’s senior class has been a part of.
“This group of guys, seeing them grow as freshmen and to keep their goals and stay driven and to see them be the team that wins their first playoff game here, that’s special to see them do that,” Mays said.