Story By: Nick Rubino and Kyle Lander
The Gainesville Hurricanes (4-2) fell to crosstown rival Buchholz Bobcats (5-1) on Friday night at Citizens Field with a final score of 34-3.
Defense Keeps the Game Close in the First Half
Coming into this game both teams had high hopes and confidence that they would bring home bragging rights to this city rivalry. Buchholz’s first drive resulted in a touchdown on a 6-yard run to the right.
Immediately after, @BuchholzFB was able to find the endzone via a rushing touchdown. However they went for 2 and were not able to convert.
— Kyle (@_KyleLander) October 7, 2021
However, they were aided on their journey to the end-zone through penalties committed by the Hurricanes defense. The Hurricane’s defense totaled four penalties alone on this first drive. Ushering the Bobcats offense into the end-zone.
On the extra point, the Hurricanes suffered an encroachment penalty which presented the opportunity for the Bobcats to go for a 2-point conversion. Despite this blunder, the Hurricanes would hold strong and stuff the play at the line of scrimmage.
The Bobcats jumped in front 6-0 over the Hurricanes. These would be the only points of the first quarter from either team.
Early in the second quarter, Gainesville was gifted a generous starting field position for their drive after a short punt by Buchholz. They saw this drive start on the Buchholz 33-yard line. This drive would stall quickly but ended with points.
The Hurricanes would leg in a 37-yard field goal to close the gap to just three points. Gainesville would trail 6-3 to Buchholz with 11:41 remaining in the second quarter.
@Canesville1900 was able to snatch a 37-yard FG from the great field position.
— Kyle (@_KyleLander) October 7, 2021
The offenses on both sides began to stumble due to the intensity of the defenses. Both sides gave little room for the offenses to breathe. Neither team moved the ball well the rest of the way and punts highlighted the closing of the half. The first half would end with the advantage going to Buchholz leading 6-3 over Gainesville.
Coach Pollard quickly addressed some of the penalties his team committed in the first half after the game.
Uninspiring Second Half from the Hurricanes
The Hurricanes received the second-half kick-off and punted on their first possession, much like their first half. Buchholz would start the scoring in the second half returning this punt from midfield for a touchdown. Buchholz would see their lead grow to 13-3 early in the third quarter.
This would only be the beginning of Buchholz’s scoring surge and Gainesville’s defensive breakdown.
Without delay, the Bobcats offense received favorable field position on their next drive at the Hurricane 22-yard line. The offense was churning and after a couple of plays, they found themselves knocking on the door of scoring again.
They would punch it in by a rush from Bobcats’ quarterback Creed Whittemore from the 1-yard line. This would push their lead to 20-3 over the Hurricanes.
Gainesville couldn’t find their rhythm on offense and struggled to get past midfield much of the second half. They would punt it again halfway through the third and lightning would strike twice for Buchholz. Bobcats’ punt returner Quan Lee would burst through the defense for their second return of the night.
Buchholz would extend their lead to 27-3 over Gainesville.
Gainesville would allow one final touchdown late in the fourth quarter on a run up the middle from Bobcats’ running back Amarius Hale. This would finalize the score, Bobcats 34-3 Hurricanes.
Coach Pollard summed up the change from the first to the second half.
I feel like we prepared to come in and win a game. We played a tight first half and came out [in the second half] and it’s like we just lost our way.