The Buchholz Bobcats (2-1) gashed the Atlantic Coast Stingrays (0-3) on the ground to open district play 1-0. The Bobcats won Friday’s game 34-14.
After their game last week was canceled because of Hurricane Dorian, the Bobcats had to overcome a slow start. They scored 27 unanswered points and only threw the ball three times in the second half to beat the Stingrays.
After a scoreless first quarter, Atlantic Coast got on the board first after a Buchholz fumble on a bad handoff. Stingrays’ quarterback Keely Watson completed a 31-yard pass to Kenny Guerrier to take a 7-0 lead.
Bobcats’ tight end Gavin Hill knotted the score at 7-7 after he caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Buchholz quarterback Jack Hevesy a minute before halftime.
After a Stingrays’ three-and-out that only lasted 15 seconds, the Bobcats got the ball back. Two plays later Hevesy fumbled the ball before running out of bounds, and Atlantic Coast had one more chance to increase their lead.
With only 15 seconds left, the Stingrays completed back-to-back passes to take a 14-7 lead to the half. Guerrier made a spectacular one-handed grab from a Watson in the back left corner of the end zone.
Buchholz came out energized to start the third quarter.
On their first drive, the Bobcats marched down the field to tie the game at 14-14. Buchholz running back Quandarius Smith finished off the drive with a seven-yard run into the end zone.
After a Stingrays special team’s mishap, Smith found a crease and went untouched on his way to the house. It was a 48-yard touchdown run to put his team up 21-14.
Smith’s touchdown run wouldn’t have been possible if the center Kevin Booker was not able to get a good block on the nose tackle.
“We were doing a great job of washing them down,” said Bobcats’ head coach Mark Whittemore. “Of course, we have three division-one commits on our offensive line. It allowed us to open up large holes.”
Once they took the lead, the Bobcats never looked back.
They scored again when they capitalized off a muffed punt from Atlantic Coast. Smith made the score 28-14 when he rolled over a defender and kept his knees off the ground to punch the ball into the end zone.
Finally, the Bobcats’ rushing attack wore down the Stingrays’ defense.
The Bobcats put the game away when Amarius Hale scored the last touchdown on a six-yard run. The extra point kick by Hunter Smith was no good to get to the final score of 34-14.
Second Half Adjustments
The Bobcats looked like a new team when they came out of halftime after looking sluggish in the first half.
“The attitude going into the game was pretty good,” said Whittemore. “It wasn’t displayed in the way we played the first half, but it’s high school football. We have a younger team, but we challenged the kids at halftime, and they rose to the challenge.”
Next week, Buchholz will travel to Lake Brantley, and Atlantic Coast will host Terry Parker.