Hawks blow out Heritage, jump up to No. 2 seed in Class 7A regional playoffs
Mohr breaks county record for receiving yards in 51-13 win
Viera sophomore quarterback Bryce Norton threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more as the Hawks defeated Heritage 51-13 on Friday night to finish the regular season with a 7-3 record.
VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala
Now that’s how you deliver a message.
The Viera High Hawks closed out the regular season with an emphatic 51-13 road victory over Heritage Friday night in a game that seemed to send a statement to the rest of Class 7A heading into the postseason.
Sophomore quarterback Bryce Norton threw three touchdown passes and ran for two more for the Hawks (7-3), who have won their last seven in a row.
Two of those touchdown throws went to senior Jordy Emmons – the first two TDs of his career. And another senior, Shamaar Mohr, is believed to have broken the Brevard County record for most receiving yards in a single season.
“If anybody doesn’t think we made a statement, then … oh well,” Viera coach Derek Smith said after the win. “That’s how I look at it. Oh well. Our football team’s playing good.
“And I stress the word football team. We are not an individual program anymore, where we’ve got a couple of good athletes that are making things happen. Offensively, everybody’s playing well. … Defensively, I really feel like our defense is doing their job. I’m not going to say it’s perfection, but they’re doing it near perfection. Everyone on defense is playing good.
“We’re playing exciting, happy, have fun football.”
As a result of their hard work on Friday, the Hawks received some good news Sunday morning when the FHSAA released the brackets for this year’s playoffs based on the final playoff point totals.
The Hawks, who had been in the No. 3 spot, moved up to No. 2 and will host Sickles High (7-3) of Tampa Friday night at 7:30 in the regional quarterfinals.
If Viera wins, it would likely host No. 3 Plant (9-1) in the regional semifinals. If that happens, it would be the third straight season the two schools have met in the postseason.
After starting the year 0-3, the Hawks have now won seven in a row and certainly have to be feeling good about themselves after their victory over the Heritage Panthers (8-2), who entered the night on an eight-game winning streak.
“Yeah, I feel like it was a statement (win),” Emmons said afterward. “This year, people were like, ‘Oh, they’re not the same team.’ I feel like we definitely made a statement to say, hey, Viera’s still the (same) team.”
Mohr, who now has 59 receptions for 1,255 yards and 12 touchdowns, is believed to have topped the old county record of 1,236.
“I came into this season … I wasn’t really expecting that,” Mohr said. “I was expecting to contribute and do what I’ve got to do. I’m just happy with how it’s going.”
The funny part about that is that, when the season started, Mohr said no one in the county knew about him. Well, there are probably a few people who have heard of him now after his record-breaking season.
“I was just trying to make a name for myself, and do whatever I had to do to help the team,” he said.
Viera certainly took care of business Friday night.
Emmons, who has played a number of roles for the Hawks this season, caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Norton on Viera’s opening drive for his first career touchdown.
“I’ve been working hard all year, just being a teammate and not worrying about that type of stuff, not worrying about the stats,” Emmons said. “It paid off. I finally got my first one. Hopefully, we can keep it going in the playoffs.”
Emmons, who credited Viera offensive coordinator Mike Degory with a great play call and Norton with a good throw, was so wide open on the play he had to be careful not to drop it.
“Yeah, it’s one of those – especially on a rainy night,” Emmons said. “With no gloves (on), you’re thinking, ‘Don’t drop it. Don’t drop it. You’re so wide open.’
“But you looked it in, I had no one around me, and made a great play.”
Following Emmons’ touchdown, Viera linebacker Andre Jones came up with a big play of his own, intercepting a pass that set up a 4-yard touchdown run by Sean Atkins.
Already leading 14-0, the Hawks made it a 16-point game just before the end of the first quarter when Bear Bollinger sacked Heritage’s quarterback in the end zone for a safety.
Emmons then got touchdown No. 2 when he did a nice job of boxing out a Heritage defender at the goal line and bringing in a 10-yard touchdown pass to make it a 23-0 contest.
In addition to all of the usual suspects, Viera got some big plays from some new additions to the varsity roster. DJ Pearson, a transfer from South Carolina, made a brilliant catch on a long pass downfield, sophomore cornerback Bryce Reynolds made his second interception in as many weeks.
And then there was freshman running back TJ Johnson, who scored his first varsity touchdown on a 10-yard run to put the Hawks up 30-0 just before the end of the first half.
Viera would have a little bit of a hiccup just before halftime as the team tried get another quick touchdown, but seemed to lose track of how much time was on the clock and as a result, the pass was picked off and returned for a touchdown.
Heritage then came out in the third quarter and scored on its first drive, and it appeared the Hawks had taken their collective feet off the gas.
That didn’t last long, however, as Atkins caught a quick pass from Norton, dodged a few defenders and dove in for the 21-yard touchdown – his career leading 43rd TD as a Hawk.
Norton would then score on runs of 19 and 5 yards to close out the contest.
Once again, Viera’s defense led by Bollinger, Jones, Cooper Davis, Hunter Lee, Garrett Kaminski, Cortez Reid, Dan Steen, Chancellor McGriff, Jackson Hatfield, Julius Barfield, Jamari Lyons, Quez Menyfield and Kato Holmes among others played a soli game.
And the offense led by Norton, Atkins, Mohr, Emmons, Jalen Housey, Johnson, Gavin Lamp, Chris Murphy, Andrew Hart, Brady Touzet, Colben Maher, Caleb Osburn and others appears to be really clicking at the right time of the season.
Now, the Hawks will get at least one, possibly two more home games.
“Great for the program to continue the winning tradition and for the fans to see us play at home,” Smith wrote in a text after the playoff brackets were released on Sunday.