Viera overpowers Melbourne 49-3 to start district play


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Viera High quarterback Hayden Kingston (No. 11) and Donovan Jackson celebrate after hooking up on a 10-yard touchdown pass during Friday night's 49-3 victory over Melbourne.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The road to the postseason for the Viera Hawks didn’t start in Allen, Texas. Or Lakeland. Or Cocoa.

Nope. It started Friday night in Melbourne, when the Hawks visited the Bulldogs in the Class 7A, District 6 opener for both teams.

Score this one for the Hawks.

Quarterback Hayden Kingston ran for one touchdown and threw for three others as Viera defeated Melbourne 49-3.

“All through the week, we talked about how this is our first district game, let’s start it over. This is the beginning of our season,” said senior wide receiver Alex Cabrera. “So it was a big game. We knew what we had to do.

“… I felt like we came out kind of slow, but then we picked it back up and we did our thing.”

Cabrera certainly did his thing in the second half, taking a pair of short Kingston passes and turning them into touchdown plays of 43 and 47 yards.

Kingston also hit wide receiver Donovan Jackson with a 10-yard touchdown pass for the Hawks (3-3, 1-0). Kingston also did some damage with his legs, rushing up the middle on a fourth-and-1 play and turning it into a 15-yard TD burst.

Brennen Deplancke had a 1-yard touchdown run, Jamyson Boyd returned an interception 35 yards for a score and Trey Schaneville kicked a 31-yard field goal.

It was a solid performance by the defending district champions, particularly on the defensive end where players like Boyd, Brandon Mays, Miguel Rodriguez, Justin Harrison, Kyler Doane, Matt Martorelli, Marco Foreman, Evan Cruz, Malek Folston, Trevor Merritt, Austin Roberts and others stood out.

Offensively, the game underscored once again how important Kingston is to what the Hawks do. Though he does get a lot of credit for his play, he is still underrated to a degree.

“He’s real underrated with the way he leads us on the field,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “He checks us, gets us in the right plays. He’s what you look for in a quarterback.”

As the Hawks approached this week’s game, the coaches stressed to the players that while the team had played some big games this season, it’s the district games – like this one – that really count.

“They knew this was the game tonight,” Mays said. “We hammered that all week, that this is the game you’ve got to win.”

Still, it was by playing the Allens, the Cocoas and the Lakeland-Kathleens of the world that helped the Hawks prepare not only to defend their district title, but to potentially make a deep postseason run.

This is a team that has grown up a lot already this season.

“Coach set it up for a reason,” Cabrera said. “We have a tough schedule for a reason. We see ourselves going farther in the playoffs this season. When you play hard teams, you know what adversity is. We know what it is to fight.

“Allen, we got beat, but it was a learning experience. Kathleen, same thing. We learned about adversity. We brought back the score in the last seconds. Same with Cocoa. We didn’t stop fighting. That’s we all needed and it’s been working out really good because our team’s a cohesive group and we fight together.”