Trailing by four points going into the fourth quarter, the Viera Hawks were in search of just one thing:
A big play on offense.
And with a 45-yard touchdown strike, Tim DeMorat and Travis Jones delivered, helping lift the Hawks to a 13-7 come-from-behind win over visiting Lakeland Kathleen Friday night in a non-district game.
Colton Farrington had two interceptions for Viera and Connor Kaminski added another for the Hawks (3-1), who got a dominating performance from their defense but just couldn’t seem to put it together offensively.
Viera failed to convert twice on fourth-and-goal, once from the 1-yard line and once from the 4.
“From the 20 (yard line) to the 20 (yard line), we didn’t play too bad offensively,” Viera coach Kevin Mays said. “We just couldn’t put the ball in the end zone. But I’ll take it. A win is a win.
“But we’ve got to be able to finish. When we get that close to the end zone, we’ve got to be able to put some points on the board.”
Viera kicker Trey Schaneville’s 40-yard field goal in the first quarter put the Hawks up, 3-0, but Lakeland Kathleen (2-2) would answer two possessions later when wide receiver Reggie Brown made a great leaping catch on a pass from Antonio Whitehead and went 74 yards for a touchdown.
It was the only big play the Hawks defense gave up the whole night, but it nearly ended up being enough to give Lakeland Kathleen, which has a pretty dominant defense of its own, the victory.
The tide began to turn at the end of the third quarter when, on the same play, Kaminski delivered a big hit on the far sideline and Whitehead began cramping in his leg. Several plays before that, the Red Devils had a 59-yard run to the Viera 1-yard line by Malik Williams called back because of a holding penalty.
Viera got the ball back at its own 30 with offensive players trying to pump themselves up on the sidelines. A 25-yard pass from DeMorat to Brennen DePlancke got things started and then DeMorat and Jones would convert for the TD.
“I was just looking for the ball,” Jones said. “I knew I was going to be open down the hash. (DeMorat) waited for me to get past the linebackers and he just passed it right outside.”
The touchdown not only gave Viera a 10-7 lead, it energized the Hawks in a big way.
“I think mainly, we just weren’t getting off the ball as hard (early on),” Jones said. “We just didn’t have as much passion in the beginning. Later on, after I scored, everyone got hyped. The defense started firing off and it just worked out.”
Interceptions by Farrington and Kaminski, plus a 25-yard Schaneville field goal, closed things out for Viera.
“You can’t have big plays, and then have penalties on big plays against a good football team,” said Lakeland Kathleen coach Irving Strickland. “That’s one thing we kept telling them. We throw three picks in our territory, give them short fields and you just can’t do that.
“Our defense held them one time to three points, but you can’t waste series. Whenever you’ve got the football, you’ve got a chance to score or pin them down and make them work.
“The interceptions hurt us tonight.”
Kathleen 7 0 0 0 – 7
Viera 3 0 0 10 – 13
V: Trey Schaneville 40 FG, 7:43
K: Reggie Brown 74 pass from Antonio Whitehead (Angel Cabrera kick), 2:46
V; Travis Jones 45 pass from Tim DeMorat (Trey Schaneville kick), 9:24
V: Trey Schaneville 25 FG, 6:00
RUSHING: LK—Antonio Whitehead 13-59, Malik Williams 10-16, Torean Sealy 1-8, Jhakari Martin 4-8, Dominique Walker 2-5. V—Brennen DePlancke 22-70, Mike Vega 5-12, Tim DeMorat 9-3, Travis Jones 1-(-3).
PASSING: LK—Whitehead 3-9-79-1-1, Walker 2-4-3-0-2. V—DeMorat 13-21-185-1-1.
RECEIVING: LK—Sealy 4-8, Reggie Brown 1-74. V—Jones 4-69, Sean Atkins 4-45, Don Jackson 2-33, DePlancke 1-25, Vega 1-9, Quinton Richard 1-0.
At Viera High, Viera
Top performers: Kathleen: Reggie Brown made a nice leaping catch and went 74 yards for a touchdown. Viera: Safety Colton Farrington had two of Viera’s three interceptions to highlight a strong defensive game by Viera.
Key play: With Viera trailing 7-3 and struggling to make a big play on offense, Tim DeMorat hit Travis Jones with a 45-yard TD pass to put the Hawks up 10-7.
Record: Kathleen (2-2); Viera (3-1).
Next week: Kathleen at Auburndale, 7:30 p.m.; Cocoa at Viera, 7 p.m.
Full game report: http://on.flatoday.com/2cMKIwV
Carl Kotala, for FLORIDA TODAY