High school football playoffs are just starting to heat up. And a few local teams have proven they can handle the heat.
The Buchholz Bobcats will enter their Class 7-A regional semifinal matchup on an eight-game winning streak. In their last matchup, the Bobcats proved they were up for the challenge with a 35-21 win over the previously undefeated Navarre.
The Bobcats jumped out to an early 21-0 lead against Navarre. Quan Lee and Quan Smith were the stars of the show for Buchholz with Lee racking up 22o receiving yards and Smith rushing for 118 yards. Head coach Mark Whittemore also knows that his team has improved over the season.
However, this week’s test against the Niceville Eagles will be their biggest test yet. The Eagles are coming in at 9-0 and have huge threats like Azareyeh Thomas who is an Alabama and Clemson recruit.
The Hawthorne Hornets (8-2) will take on the Wildwood Wildcats (9-1) in its Class 1-A regional final matchup. Hawthorne held on to win 12-7 last weekend in a defensive showdown against Fort Meade.
Both teams utilized the run game hard during a rainy game. However, strong defensive plays for both sides kept one another from scoring too much.
Hawthorne dug deep though and pulled out two touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Jamal Neely hauled in a four-yard touchdown reception from Chaz Mackey for the first score of the night and Dre Lawrence’s 19-yard sprint put the Hornets up by double-digits with less than eight minutes to play. However, head coach Cornelius Ingram knows what his team has to do to bring home another win.
The 4-5 Columbia Tigers will take on Mainland in its Class 6-A regional semifinal matchup. The Tigers were able to hold on for a 28-14 win over Daytona Beach Seabreeze last Friday.
Columbia had a 21-0 lead in the third quarter following Marcus Peterson’s 8-yard touchdown run, a 6-yard screen to Jaquez Redic from Kade Jackson and a Tony Fulton 4-yard touchdown run. However, Seabreeze began to come back and pulled within a score. Dante Brown intercepted the ball though for Columbia and the Tigers were able to hold on.
The Tigers will host its fourth straight playoff game next week in Daytona Mainland. Mainland was a big winner last weekend, bringing down Matanzas 45-28.
Union County Fightin’ Tigers
Also in Class 1-A, the Union County Fightin’ Tigers (8-3) will face off against the Madison County Cowboys (9-2) in the regional finals. Union County definitely had the largest win last weekend, defeating Fort White 47-0. The teams win full of huge scoring quarters including a 21-point third quarter. Head coach Andrew Thomas knows his team is improving every week.
However, their next opponent will also be coming off a huge win. Last weekend, Madison County defeated Hilliard 48-7. Coach Thomas knows this week’s matchup will be hard, but he has his team focusing on mindset this week.
The Buchholz Bobcats will host Niceville Friday at 7 p.m. The Hawthorne Hornets will face off against Wildwood Friday at 7:30 p.m. The Columbia Tigers will face Mainland Friday at 7:30.