TAMPA It was one of those nights for the Viera High football team.
Unfortunately, it came in the Class 7A regional final.
Playing against an aggressive Plant defense, Viera’s offense simply couldn’t get anything going Friday night, and while the defense played well overall, it wasn’t enough to stop the host Panthers from coming away with a 35-7 victory to end the Hawks’ season.
“It wasn’t our night,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “Offensively, we weren’t clicking real well. The defense hung in there and played well for a while … but I give Plant credit. They’re a class-act team. They were the better team tonight.”
Viera’s defense had to play much of the night without two of its top players – linebacker Brandon Mays and defensive end Miguel Rodriguez – who both came in with injuries and were lost early on.
It also didn’t help that Viera had to defend a short field much of the first half because of the Hawks’ offensive struggles.
Despite all that, it was a mistake early on that put Viera in a hole early on as Plant quarterback Dane Frantzen completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Christian Watson on a third-and-19 play where the ball seemed to hang in the air forever before finding its intended target.
With the Hawks trailing 14-0 near the end of the first half, Viera got the big play it needed when Garrett Kaminski intercepted Frantzen and returned it to the Plant 26-yard line. However, with less than six seconds in the half, the Hawks had only one shot into the end zone – which was incomplete – before trying a field goal, which was blocked.
“We weren’t focused,” Viera wide receiver Sean Atkins said. “A lot of things weren’t going our way and we really didn’t get clicking on all cylinders at all.”
Viera started the second half with a 16-yard completion from Tim DeMorat to Travis Jones, but then couldn’t convert on third down and punted the ball to Plant, which went to its running game to move down the field and score to make it 21-0.
“If we got any kind of momentum going, there would be a penalty, or this or that,” Mays said. “We hurt ourselves a lot tonight, not to take anything away from them. We didn’t play our game and, obviously, it showed.”
Trailing 35-0 in the fourth quarter, the Hawks got on the board on an 18-yard touchdown pass from DeMorat to Atkins.
After the game, Mays told his players – particularly his seniors – to keep their heads up and think about what they’ve accomplished in their careers.
“A lot of these seniors have played three years of varsity football for me,” Mays said. “And they’ve won 30 football games. There’s not many guys that can say that.
“They’ve helped build this place to what it is. People around the state and around the nation know who Viera is now, and it’s because of those guys.”
TAMPA PLANT 35, VIERA 7
Viera 0 0 0 7 – 7
Tampa Plant 7 7 21 0 – 35
Plant: Christian Watson 48 pass from Dane Frantzen (Nick Rice kick), 9:25
Plant: Ty Thomspon 1 run (Nick Rice kick), 9:56
Plant: Dane Frantzen 23 run (Nick Rice kick), 5:10
Plant: Ty Thompson 69 run (Nick Rice kick), 2:44
Plant: Micah McFadden 1 run (Nick Rice kick), :13.6
Viera: Sean Atkins 18 pass from Tim DeMorat (Trey Schaneville kick), 7:12
RUSHING: V–Justin Harrison 1-15, Brennen DePlancke 3-8, Mike Vega 4-8, Jaren Lewis 2-6, Tim DeMorat 1-2. P–Ty Thompson 15-201, Dane Frantzen 13-78, Unknown 3-11, Whop Philyor 5-6, Micah McFadden 1-4, Judge Culpepper 1-3.
PASSING: V–DeMorat 17-38-135-1-0, Sean Atkins 0-1-0-0. P–Frantzen 10-19-155-1-1.
RECEIVING: V–Travis Jones 5-80, Atkins 3-24, Vega 3-5, Don Jackson 2-13, Quinton Richard 2-9, DePlancke 2-4. P–Christian Watson 3-75, Philyor 3-27, Unknown 2-22, Cameron Duggins 1-13, Culpepper 1-2.