Hawks have big expectations for season


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There might not be another football team in Brevard County as eager for the start of the season as the Viera High Hawks.

Coming off the best season in school history (8-2), the Hawks are itching to get back on the field and take care of the big goal they weren’t able to reach last season – making the playoffs for the first time.

“We’re excited to see where we’re at,” Hawks coach Kevin Mays said.

If Viera’s season opener was any indication, the team is in great shape. The Hawks opened with a 53-7 thumping of Rockledge High, but unfortunately were rained out in their scheduled game against Satellite last week.

Viera will host Cocoa Beach in a non-district game Friday night at 7.

Their season-opening win aside, the Hawks certainly have plenty of reason for optimism. They have eight starters back on both sides of the ball, they have three players – receivers Devin Nixon, Tre Nixon and safety Jacob Kutcher – who have multiple college scholarship offers and their Kickoff Classic game against Merritt Island will be the Bright House Sports Network Game of the Week.

Needless to say, this year’s Viera team has a whole different mindset at this point than the team that had a breakout year in 2013.

“Last year, we didn’t know what we were going to be like. … (From) last year, to this year, we definitely have a lot more confidence in ourselves,” senior linebacker Conner Post said.

Viera will have a new quarterback this season. Junior Hayden Kingston will take over the spot and will have plenty of weapons with players like  junior running back Zack Blanch and the Nixon brothers.

Devin, a senior, has five offers including Army, FIU and Florida Tech. Tre, a junior, is considering offers from Florida, Miami, Penn State, Duke, FIU, FAU and Army.

Other senior returning offensive starters include wide receiver Nathan Hartnett, tight end Aaron Rood and linemen Leland McCloud and Justice Newberry.

The Hawks should be strong on defense, especially with players like Post and Kutcher, who led Brevard County in interceptions last season. Kutcher has offers from Valparaiso and Davidson.

Safety Jordan Stengel, defensive tackles Ryley Howe, Dan Hayasaka and Dustin Singletary along with linebacker Taylor Streeter and defensive end Hunter Vattes-Dixon highlight Viera’s returning senior defensive starters.

Missing the playoffs last year has provided the Hawks with a lot of motivation. Year after year, the seniors have been talking about how important it was for them to be the group to turn the Viera program around.

While acknowledging the expectations for this season are much higher than in previous years, Mays isn’t worried about how well his players will respond.

“I don’t think the pressure’s going to get to us,” he said. “But when the time comes, it’s up to these guys to get out and play. They’ll be prepared.

“I told the seniors, they get to leave their legacy here. They’re the ones that kind of started this.”