VIERA – Before Monday’s practice, Viera High football players watched a three-minute video with game highlights of the Allen Eagles, a Texas school in the suburbs of Dallas with an 18,000-seat, $60 million stadium.
Friday, the Hawks will be in the middle of the spectacle. Viera’s second regular-season game will come against the seventh-ranked team in USA Today’s Super 25.
It is a major step up in class for a Hawks team that made its first-ever playoff appearance last season and plays its own home games in a 4,000-seat stadium. It is also something fifth-year head coach Kevin Mays said he wanted to do for the players who helped him build the winning foundation for the program.
“I wanted to reward them by going out-of-state somewhere,” Mays said. “One phone call led to another.”
Viera will be a heavy underdog in the game. Mays expects his skill position players,which include highly recruited receiver Tre Nixon, will measure up with any team they face. The main question for the Hawks will be up front.
“Allen is very good fundamentally. Both front lines are very strong,” Mays said. “It’ll be a very good gauge to see where we are.”
The Eagles opened their season with a 48-16 win over Denton (Texas) Guyer, while the Hawks opened by defeating Rockledge, 38-0.
Allen had an overflow crowd for its opener, not only because it has won three consecutive state championships in 6A, the largest classification in Texas, but because the Eagles did not play at home last year due to stadium repairs. This year, Allen, the winner of 44 games in a row overall, plays eight at home, where it has won all 12 games it has played.
After watching the video highlights on Monday, Viera players practiced with music blaring from a nearby shed.
“I’ve decided we’re going to show them what the atmosphere is,” Mays said. “I’m going to try to expose them to what they’re going to walk into. It’s going to be a different experience for all of us.”
But that’s what Mays wanted for his team. Before Friday’s game, the team will attend a preseason game between the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans. On Saturday, it will visit the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum.
Contact McCallum at 321-242-3698 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @Brian_McCallum and at facebook.com/FLtoday.brianmccallum.