Viera starts fast, rolls to road win over Merritt Island 42-13
DeMorat, DePlancke and defense all shine
Viera High linebacker Brandon Mays brings down Merritt Island's Deben Peterson during Friday night's game between the Hawks and Mustangs. Viera won 42-13.
If there was one thing Tim DeMorat knew before he took the field Friday night against Merritt Island, his former team, it’s that his new Viera High teammates were all behind him.
“We talked about it,” senior running back Brennen DePlancke said. “We just mainly told him, ‘Hey, we’ve got your back. You’re our brother now. You’re part of our family.’”
It turned out to be a Viera family kind of night, too.
DeMorat threw two touchdown passes, DePlancke ran for a career-best three TDs and the Hawks got a solid game from their defense in a 42-13 win over host Merritt Island.
It was a much cleaner performance from the Hawks (2-1), who turned the ball over four times and committed a number of costly personal foul penalties last week in a loss to Gonzaga of Washington D.C.
Viera coach Kevin Mays said he and his staff emphasized playing mistake-free football during practice all week.
“Every time there was a mistake, we made someone accountable for it and we fixed it,” Mays said. “I think we played better tonight. We still had a few dumb ones, but I’m proud of the team, the way they responded.”
DeMorat, who transferred to Viera from Merritt over the summer, completed his first nine passes of the night. That included a 20-yard scoring pass to Travis Jones and a 27-yard TD throw to Quinton Richard.
For the night, the junior completed 14 of 19 passes for 157 yards and the two scores.
“Considering what Tim had to go through this week, he did a great job tonight,” Mays said. “He led the offense. He led the team on the sideline. He did a great job.”
Any nerves DeMorat may have been feeling at the start of the game were erased quickly on a nice opening play call, where he faked a handoff and ran for 41 yards to the Merritt Island 28-yard line.
“Little butterflies in the beginning, but getting that first run definitely kept the intensity going,” DeMorat said.
Getting a victory against his former team was pretty satisfying, too.
“It definitely feels good to get the win against Merritt Island back in the O-Dome,” DeMorat said.
As well as the Hawks’ quarterback played, however, there were plenty of other storylines worth noting as well.
DePlancke would finish with 65 yards on 11 carries to go with a pair of 2-yard touchdown runs and another from a yard out.
Sean Atkins scored on a 1-yard run and had a long punt return for a touchdown called back because of a penalty.
Defensively, linebacker Brandon Mays had an interception that he returned to the Merritt Island 2-yard line to set up one of DePlancke’s runs.
And up front, the Hawks got a big game out of Justin Harrison, Marco Foreman, Jaylin Wilson and Miguel Rodriguez. Not only did the Hawks do a nice job of slowing the Merritt Island running game, they also put plenty of pressure on the quarterback.
Rodriguez and James Klause each had a couple of sacks, David Eaton had one and Foreman and Brock Holland combined on another.
The Hawks also got solid play from players like Will Champion, Kyler Doane, Connor Kaminski, Colton Farrington and Garrett Kaminski.
But it all started up front.
“We came in with a game plan,” Harrison said. “We came in with all the stunts, all the reads. We knew what to do. We just came in prepared, ready to play the game.”
That wasn’t all the action the senior defensive tackle got Friday night.
Faced with a fourth-and-1 on the first drive of the second half, the Hawks went for a fake punt and Harrison – who played running back as a freshman before getting bigger and switched to defense – rumbled 25 yards for a first down.
Watching big guys run … always pretty cool.
“Coach Mays called my number,” Harrison said. “He just wanted me to hit the hole and get a first down. That’s all I was thinking – first down, first down. Whatever I get is extra and it’s good.”
Asked about playing a smarter game than last week against Gonzaga, Harrison said:
“Coach kept harping on us all week to play disciplined, no stupid penalties … none of that. We’ve been working hard, trying to get that out of our game. Once we get that out of our game, we’re a much better team.”
The schedule certainly doesn’t get easier with Lakeland Kathleen (2-1) coming to town next week, but on this night, the Hawks certainly had plenty to be happy about on a number of different fronts.
“We were pretty good tonight,” Mays said. “Our guys did what they were supposed to do. We blocked on the outside. It was a team win tonight.”