Viera tops South Fork 45-6 to win 2nd straight district title
The Viera Hawks celebrated Senior Night with a 45-6 win over South Fork that clinched their second straight district title.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
They celebrated Senior Night at Viera High School on Friday.
And what a celebration it turned out to be.
Coming off their bye week, the Hawks looked healthy, crisp and fast in a 45-6 win over visiting South Fork to claim their second consecutive Class 7A, District 6 championship.
“This senior class is a special class to me,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “For them to come out and play the way they did on their Senior Night, that’s good stuff.”
The Hawks (5-4 overall, 3-0 district) are expected to host District 5 runner-up Harmony (8-1, 4-1) in the first round of the playoffs two weeks from now, while District 6 runner-up Martin County (7-2, 2-1) visits District 5 champ St. Cloud (7-1, 5-0).
But first things first. Viera will host Winter Springs (3-6) in its homecoming game this Friday to close out the regular season.
Call the Winter Springs game a tune-up, if you will, but the Hawks looked pretty spry and on point against South Fork.
Quarterback Hayden Kingston completed 11 of 14 passes for 236 yards and connected on four touchdown passes – two of them to wide receiver Tre Nixon.
The defense, meanwhile, forced several turnovers and got a key fourth-down stop early in the game to help solidify the victory, and the district title.
Mays said he had a sense his team would play well Friday night based on the look in his player’s eyes, not just before the game, but during the week.
“We had a great week of practice,” Mays said. “It felt like the early part of the year when we had a little juice in us. That bye week really helped. We played pretty good tonight.”
Senior defensive back Jamyson Boyd said the bye week was important for the Hawks because it allowed players who were battling a series of injuries a chance to rest up. It also provided a good mental break for the Hawks to give them a chance to come back focused and ready for what they hope will be a deep playoff run.
Viera was in full throttle from the get-go, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown pass from Kingston to Nixon on Viera’s first drive. Malek Folston then recovered a South Fork fumble and returned it to the 4-yard line, where Brennen Deplancke scored on the next play to put the Hawks up 14-0.
Just when it looked like South Fork was starting to mount a drive, Viera’s defense came up big again, stopping the Bulldogs on a fourth-and-5 from the Hawks’ 18-yard line.
Once again, it was Kingston-to-Nixon, this time from 79 yards out and it was a 21-0 game.
Kingston would find Quinton Richard for a 20-yard TD pass and then hit Deplancke on a 10-yard score to make it 35-0 at the half.
Trey Schaneville would add a 22-yard field goal for Viera and with most of the starters out of the game in the fourth quarter, the Hawks put together another scoring drive.
This time, it was Mike Brunotte with an 11-yard touchdown run and the senior got a big reception from his teammates when he got to the sideline.
Viera’s up-tempo offense was on full display Friday night.
“It kind of caught us off-guard a little bit,” South Fork coach Mike Lavelle said. “They hadn’t showed a whole lot of that (on film), so it surprised us a little bit. But ultimately, that wasn’t the difference in the game.
“I think we kind of ran into a buzzsaw tonight. That’s a good football team.”
It was also a good night for the Hawks’ offensive line (Hunter Ulrich, Jordan Romero, Dominic Dennelo, Blake Mordas, Lucas Delancey and Brian Pickles, who returned from injury) which did a solid job protecting Kingston throughout the game.
Defensively, the Hawks got another big game from linebacker Brandon Mays along with teammates Matt Martorelli, Boyd, Folston, Trevor Merritt, Marco Foreman, Will Champion, Evan Cruz and Kyler Doane, who had an interception.
Before the game, and at halftime, senior members of the football team, cheerleading squad and band were all honored.
The list of senior football players, who will play their final regular season home game on Friday include: Nixon; Ian Hubbard; Merritt; Folston; Donovan Jackson; Kingston; Zach Trantham; Mitch Shafer, Bryan Hayden; Cruz; Alex Cabrera; Kyle Troiano; Boyd, Immanuel Barrett; Zack Blanch; Brunotte; Asa Andeson; Riley Morris; Blake Hoover; Ulrich; Martorelli; Reilly Jacob; Pickles; JP Calglione; Mordas; Tim Eyler; Austin Alverto; Taylor Kiemoni and Bouie Zenan.
District champs, once again.
“I love these boys,” Nixon said. “We grinded throughout this whole summer. This is what we worked for. It’s just one step.”
And the next one is a biggie.
Last year’s team went 9-0 in the regular season, but never really faced adversity until the playoffs, when the Hawks lost in the first round.
With the schedule Viera played this season, the Hawks will go into their second postseason battled tested and ready.
Ready to go to the Final Four and beyond.