STUART — Several key mistakes cost the Martin County High School football team a chance to clinch the District 6-7A championship on Friday night.
Viera defeated Martin County 17-14, primarily by taking advantage of two Martin County turnovers and untimely penalties. An interception combined with a critical penalty led to a first-half touchdown for Viera, which also recovered a fumble that ended the potential game-winning drive with about five minutes to play.
“We had the ball with five minutes to go, we were driving at midfield and lost it,” Martin County coach Chuck Kenyon said. “We just have to execute better. When it’s all said and done, we can’t have break downs. It wasn’t a lot, but they were costly.”
The defense held Viera (4-4, 2-0) to a season-low points total with a combination of strong coverage and good pressure. Cody Smith was exceptional in coverage. Tristan Simmons had an interception. Up front, Nick Eimann had two sacks.
“I think our defense played well, again, with one or two breakdowns,” Kenyon said.
Martin County (6-2, 1-1) scored first on a one-yard run by Rod Harris, which capped an impressive 89-yard drive led by George Johnson.
Viera tied it in the second quarter on a drive that started when Jamison Boyd picked off Johnson. Viera had to settle for a field goal attempt, but a roughing the kicker on the try resulted in a first down. Brennen Deplancke ran for a touchdown the next play to tie the game.
“This was probably the first game all year that we relied on our run game more than throwing the ball,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said.
Viera took its first lead on a third-quarter field goal — a drive helped by two personal fouls against Martin County.
A big Viera mistake, a bad snap that lost 35 yards before Martin County recovered the bouncing ball, set up the go-ahead score for Martin County. Harris scored on another one-yard run, to cap the drive that began on the Viera 5-yard line. A defensive breakdown seconds later gave Viera the decisive score when Hayden Kingston threw a deep ball to a wide-open Quinton Richard for a 48-yard touchdown.
“(The defensive back) bit on the hitch,” Kenyon said.
TCPalm provided this report
Viera 17, Martin County 14
Viera 0 7 10 0 — 17
Martin County 7 0 7 0 — 14
HOW THEY SCORED
MC — Rod Harris 1 run (Skyler Reese kick), 1:07.
V — Brennen Deplancke 13 run (Troy Schaneville kick), 5:41.
MC — Rod Harris 1 run (Skyler Reese kick), 1:33.
V — Quinton Richard 48 pass from Hayden Kingston (Trey Schaneville kick), 1:10.
Records: Viera 3-4, Martin County 6-1.