VIERA The Viera Hawks may not have turned in their best offensive performance Friday night … but they still made it look easy.
Brandon Mays ran for two touchdowns and the Viera defense forced three turnovers as the Hawks defeated visiting East River, 41-0, in a Class 7A regional quarterfinal game at Hawk Stadium.
“I thought the defense played really well,” Hawks coach Kevin Mays said. “Offense, we struggled tonight. We’ve played much better than that.”
Viera (8-2) will host Martin County next week in the regional semifinals. Martin County defeated Lake Nona 35-14 Friday night.
The Hawks defeated the Tigers 55-24 earlier this season on the way to winning their third straight district championship.
This time, they will be meeting with much more on the line: a spot in the regional finals.
But as good as the Hawks should feel about reaching the second round of the playoffs, Friday’s game was marred by a fight that took place with 9:14 remaining in the fourth quarter.
Viera backup quarterback Seth Kennedy was hit late out of bounds by an East River player on the Hawks’ sideline and the fight soon followed.
“I’ll be honest, I don’t know what happened,” Kevin Mays said. “Chaos broke loose and we did, as coaches, everything we could do to keep our guys from doing anything.
“Their guy hit our guy late out of bounds, and I don’t know what happened (after that).”
On the field, the game was all Viera, as a defense led by Marco Foreman, Miguel Rodriguez, Will Champion and Brandon Mays kept East River in check all night.
Foreman had three sacks, and Champion returned an interception 45 yards for a touchdown.
Garrett Kaminski also had an interception for Viera (8-2). Jaylin Wilson had a fumble recovery.
Brandon Mays, getting a chance to line up in the backfield several times, made the most of his two carries, scoring on touchdown runs of two and 20 yards.
Viera also got a 1-yard touchdown run from Keith Freeman, a 9-yard scoring run from Mike Vega and a 3-yard touchdown run from Kennedy to close things out.
Despite the scores, however, the Hawks struggled to put together the kind of consistent, well-executed drives they have been known for, especially down the stretch. But with the defense shutting down East River’s offense, the game never seemed in doubt.
“I think we played pretty good,” Brandon Mays said. “Defensively, I think we played great. Our offense stumbled a little bit tonight but that’s all right. We’re going to get the ball rolling.”
VIERA 41, EAST RIVER
East River 0 0 0 0 – 0
Viera 7 14 7 13 – 41
HOW THEY SCORED
V: Brandon Mays 4 run (Trey Schaneville kick), 7:23
V: Mike Vega 9 run (Trey Schaneville kick), 6:21
V: Will Champion 45 interception return (Trey Schaneville kick), 4:31
V: Keith Freeman 1 run (Trey Schaneville kick), 8:24
V: Brandon Mays 20 run (kick blocked), 11:43
V: Seth Kennedy 3 run (Trey Schaneville kick), 5:05
RUSHING: ER—Sirwand Brown 9-24, Uriah Rajkumar 4-15, Jeremiah Gholston 6-12, James Sellers 2-7, Jose Garcia 3-6, Tyler O’Hara 12-2. V—Keith Freeman 8-44, Tim DeMorat 7-37, Brandon Mays 2-24, Andre Jones 4-19, Mike Vega 2-11, Brennen DePlancke 4-7, Jarin Lewis 4-7, Seth Kennedy 3-6, Sean Atkins 2-(-8).
PASSING: ER—O’Hara 3-9-15-0-2, James Sellers 1-3-9-0-0. V—DeMorat 13-20-79-0-0.
RECEIVING: ER—Rajkumar 2-18, Brenden Easley 1-6. V—Vega 4-35, Travis Jones 2-16, DePlancke 1-19, Atkins 3-12, Don Jackson 2-7, Quinton Richard 1-8