Hawks fall flat against Rockledge as Raiders win 20-6


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Viera High's Jeremiah Housey tries to spin away from a Rockledge defender during Friday night's Backyard Brawl. The Raiders won the game 20-6 to take the trophy home for the second straight year.

VIERA VOICE Carl Kotala

The Viera Hawks held a long team meeting following Friday night’s 20-6 loss to Rockledge.

Because this was about more than just losing a football game.

The Hawks (1-2) appear to be in need of a little soul searching before beginning district play next week at Harmony (1-3).

Rockledge (4-0), playing with a depleted roster following suspensions after last week’s game against Eau Gallie, dominated the Hawks and where clearly the more energetic team from the opening moments of the game.

The Raiders scored on a 30-yard touchdown pass on their first possession and added two field goals – one set up by a Viera fumble to take a 13-0 lead in the first quarter.

Viera’s offense, which saw both quarterbacks – C.J. Simms and Bryce Norton – play in the first half, had trouble putting together a sustained drive.

And whenever the Hawks did make a big play, a penalty either wiped it out, or set Viera back and broke any kind of momentum or rhythm Viera had.

Trailing 20-0, Viera would get on the scoreboard in the third quarter when Norton – in his first game back since sustaining a knee injury against Cocoa in the season opener -- hit sophomore Donovan Giles with an 11-yard touchdown pass. The extra point was missed and the Hawks would not get any closer.

Despite a number of players cramping up, Rockledge’s defense held strong in the fourth quarter and the Raiders won the annual Backyard Brawl trophy for the second straight year.

It was Viera’s first game since an Aug. 29 home victory over Centennial. The Hawks’ scheduled matchup with South Carolina’s Fort Dorchester High was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian and Viera was on a bye last week.

Now, the Hawks are going to have to find a way to regroup before next week’s district opener at Harmony, which will be followed by their final two regular-season home games against DeLand and Tohopekaliga.

While Viera coach Derek Smith had a lot to say to his team following Friday’s loss, he kept his postgame comments short.

“They did a great job coaching,” Smith said. “They did a great job of playing with energy. They outplayed us. They outcoached us.

“We just have to find a way to overcome adversity internally.”