VIERA — For those who might have forgotten what the Viera High Hawks look like when they’re at the top of their game, Friday night’s district-clinching 45-6 victory over visiting South Fork was a big reminder.
“They had that look in their eye tonight,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “I really was expecting something good tonight.”
Using an up-tempo offense that not only pushed the pace, but created big plays, the Hawks jumped all over the Bulldogs early on the way to claiming their second consecutive Class 7A, District 6 championship.
“I love these boys,” Viera wide receiver Tre Nixon said. “We grinded throughout this whole summer. This is what we worked for. It’s just one step.”
Nixon caught a pair of touchdown passes from quarterback Hayden Kingston, including a 4-yard score on Viera’s first drive of the game.
Less than a minute later, running back Brennen Deplancke made it a 14-0 game when he scored on a 4-yard run after Viera defensive back Malek Folston recovered a South Fork fumble.
It was that kind of night for the Bulldogs (7-3, 1-2). After driving to the Viera 23-yard line, South Fork went for it on fourth-and-5 and running back Cephus Leonard was stopped short.
Viera got the ball back and once again, Kingston and Nixon hooked up — this time for a 79-yard touchdown pass that made it 21-0.
“We picked it up and the offensive guys responded real well,” Mays said.
Kingston, who completed 11 of 14 passes for 236 yards on the night, would throw two more touchdown passes to bring his total to four. Quinton Richard caught a 20-yard touchdown pass and Deplancke added a 10-yard TD reception.
Viera’s offensive line (Hunter Ulrich, Jordan Romero, Dominic Dennelo, Blake Mordas, Lucas Delancey and Brian Pickles, who returned from injury) kept Kingston clean most of the night, helping those big plays take place.
Defensively, the Hawks got another big game from linebacker Brandon Mays along with teammates Matt Martorelli, Jamyson Boyd, Folston, Marco Foreman, Will Champion and Kyler Done, who had an interception.
Whereas last year’s Viera team went undefeated on the way to the first district title in school history, this year’s Hawks (5-4, 3-0) faced a much tougher schedule that they are hoping will have them more prepared to make a deep playoff run.
That’s why the second title has a little different feeling to it.
“It feels a lot different,” Nixon said. “We came out a little shaky at the beginning of the season. We just told everybody to keep their head up. … We played a lot of tough opponents. We just said the season isn’t over and we’ve got to keep grinding.”
Astronaut 47, Somerset 0
Heritage 44, Bayside 0
Cocoa 56, Atlantic 0
Cocoa Beach 38, Warner Christian 21
Sebastian River 42, Eau Gallie 7
John Carroll 26, Holy Trinity 21
Martin County 20, at Melbourne 7
Merritt Island 23, Rockledge 11
Palm Bay 45, Satellite 19
Titusville 31, Space Coast 30, 2OT
Viera 45, South Fork 6
MCC 47, Champagnat Catholic 32
St. Edward’s 48, MIC 6