NEW SMYRNA BEACH – Viera High quarterback Hayden Kingston totaled 263 total yards and four touchdowns as the Hawks defeated Port Orange Atlantic 47-12 on Friday night.
“Hayden’s doing a great job, buying time, finding those guys open and when we ask him to run, he’ll run the ball,” said Viera head coach Kevin Mays.
But Kingston wasn’t the only one who had a big night. Wide receiver Tre Nixon had 197 yards and a touchdown while running back Zack Blanch totaled 172 yards and scored twice for the Hawks.
“Basically our O-line was blocking great. The first half, it was a bit slow,” Blanch said. “The O-line was blocking amazing and then I ran behind them.”
Viera got the offense cranking early. On its second play from scrimmage, Kingston found Tre Nixon, who made a sparkling one-armed grab and then shook off a defender to score on a 70-yard pitch-and-catch to put the Hawks up 7-0.
The Hawks scuffled a bit after that, allowing Atlantic to stay in the game for a while. Perhaps due to an unusually quiet atmosphere at the stadium or a particularly inspired effort from the Sharks on their Homecoming, Viera was outplayed for roughly a quarter, giving up third downs through the air and ground while being unable to kick-start their high-powered offense.
“We came out sputtering, I think, and we kind of got on the guys and challenged them and they stepped up and took the challenge,” Mays said.
A 9-yard punt helped set up an Atlantic touchdown that brought the Sharks to within 7-6 with just over eight minutes to go in the second quarter, but the Hawks were able to re-focus and re-establish their superiority before the half. Kingston ran in a score from 13 yards out to put Viera up 13-6 just past the midway point of the second quarter.
The tone set by the offense carried over, as the Hawks blocked an Atlantic punt deep in Sharks territory. Shortly after, Kingston found Nathan Hartnett for a 28-yard touchdown on which he shook off a would-be tackler that helped give Viera a 20-6 halftime lead.
Viera didn’t take long to salt the game away. A 43-yard completion from Kingston to Tre Nixon helped set up a 3-yard touchdown run by Blanch, giving the Hawks a 27-6 lead early in the third quarter.
The Hawks padded their lead late in the third on a 10-yard touchdown pass from Kingston to Hartnett and a 1-yard plunge by Brennen Deplancke that put Viera up 40-6.
Viera faces Melbourne next week in a game that will likely determine the Class 7A, District 12 champion.