Hawks hope win over Jones an eye-opener for many
Viera's Garrett Kaminski intercepts a pass near the goal line late in the first half of Thursday night's spring football game against Orlando Jones. It was one of three interceptions on the night for the Hawks, who won the game 14-0.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
ORLANDO – Whether we’re talking about Brevard County, the state of Florida or especially college recruiters, coaches and players on the Viera High football team feel like they’re being overlooked.
Well, this should open a few eyes.
The Hawks went to Orlando Thursday night for a spring game Thursday night and defeated a highly-regarded Jones High team 14-0.
“We’ve got a really good football team,” Viera coach Derek Smith said. “Jones has got a really good football team. They’ve got a lot of guys out there who have tons of offers.
“One thing our school’s got, we’ve got kids that play with heart, kids who play four quarters … and we’ve got kids who are being underrated by the entire freaking state of Florida.
“When our young offense starts to click, it could get dirty fast because our defense is good.”
Sean Atkins turned a slant pass from quarterback Bryce Norton into a 24-yard touchdown and also scored on an 18-yard run to highlight the night for the offense.
Defensively, the Hawks got interceptions from Bear Bollinger, Garrett Kaminski and freshman Zak Sedaros – on his very first varsity snap, no less.
Cooper Davis, Julius Barfield and Aaron Thomas all had sacks. Hunter Lee forced a fumble. The Hawks also got strong performances from Brock Holland, Cortez Reid, Quez Menyfield, Chancellor McGriff, Andre Jones, Jackson Hatfield and Nick Artura.
Offensively, the Hawks tried out a lot of new varsity players, including Norton – a rising sophomore – Shamaar Mohr, Jordan Emmons, Kevin Chandler, Caleb Osburn, Cooper Liston and Brady Touzet. They teamed with veterans Gavin Lamp, Chris Murphy, Andrew Hart and Nate DePlancke to help put two touchdowns on the board.
New kicker/punter Robbie Murtha had a good night as well, hitting both extra point attempts and getting good distance on his punts.
“The offense was young,” Smith said. “Jones has one heck of a defense. What our offense did tonight, which was beautiful, was they understood it’s not always about putting points on the board. It’s about holding onto the football, especially deep, late in the game.”
Atkins, who showed last season that he is one of the most dangerous players in the county, seemed satisfied with the performance of the offense Thursday night, especially in the second half.
“I thought we started out a little rusty, but we’ve got a lot of young dudes,” Atkins said. “It started clicking towards the end of the game. We were rolling. I got a lot of touches. We were balling.
“I’m telling all the DBs now, they can’t guard me. During the fall, we’ll be at another level on offense, I’m telling you.”
As for Norton, who takes over for Tim DeMorat, Smith said he thought the rising sophomore played a “patient” game and didn’t make the kind of mistakes that would cost his team.
Atkins was also impressed.
“Bryce played a really good game,” Atkins said. “A (few) young flaws, but he’s strong. He’s a good player.”
While the offense continues to gel and improve around all of its young talent, the defense appears to be loaded once again.
“The defense did great (tonight),” Kaminski said. “We did what we always do – lock them down – and the offense started bringing it together. By like game two or three, they’ll really have it and we’ll be set.”
Kaminski was especially impressed with the play of Sedaros, who got some time in the second half and certainly made the most of it.
“First play of varsity ever and he gets a pick,” Kaminski said. “It’s awesome.”
Asked which of the young players impressed him the most, Smith had a hard time picking out just one. Among those he noted were rising sophomores Liston and Touzet, who started at the offensive tackle spots, and rising sophomore Jalen Housey, a running back who had one carry and then was inserted at defensive end late in the game to help generate a pass rush and was credited with one tackle.
While there were, of course, mistakes that will be need to be corrected over the offseason, the win against Jones should give the Hawks plenty of momentum to continue to work hard and improve over the summer.
“It gives all the young dudes a lot of confidence,” Atkins said. “We beat a very good Jones team. They’re saying they’re going to states (next season). We just beat them, so we’re a good damn football team.”
It may have just been a spring game, but the Hawks are hoping it helped them prove a point:
Don’t sleep on Viera.
“We had kids all over the board,” Smith said. “And our (rising) seniors … I’m just telling you we have one of the most underrated senior classes in the state of Florida.
“They showed everybody tonight they can play the game of football.”