Buchholz quarterback Creed Whittemore. Photo via @cwhitt_4 on Instagram and taken by @shotxcoach.

Buchholz Bobcats top Pace Patriots 35-34 in Thrilling Playoff Matchup

By Shelby Hickman and Rachel Rosen

The Buchholz Bobcats advance to the regional semifinals after a nail-biting victory over the Pace Patriots.

The energy at Newberry High School was electric as the Bobcats took the field on Friday night. Although the game was moved from their home field, Buchholz supporters showed out to cheer on the Bobcats. The Buchholz squad looked to score early as they elected to receive after winning the toss. And they did just that.

Quarterback Creed Whittemore connected with wide-open receiver Jaren Hamilton for a 49-yard score to get the Bobcats on the board early.  They continued this momentum throughout the first quarter as Whittemore took off for a 40-yard rushing touchdown. This would stretch their lead to 13-0 after a failed 2-point attempt.

The Patriots struck back with a 7-yard rushing touchdown scored by quarterback Nick Simmons. Unwilling to give up their 13-point lead, Whittemore connected with his favorite target, Hamilton for the duo’s second touchdown of the night.

Bobcats Blunders

The Bobcats momentum hit a roadblock as they allowed Simmons into the end zone for his second score of the night, cutting their lead to 6 points. In a failed attempt at retaliation, the Bobcats gave up a costly fumble to the Pace defense. This ultimately resulted in the Patriots taking a 21-20 lead, their first of the night.

Kelly Comes in Clutch

Whittemore wowed the crowd by connecting with Jacarree Kelly to give the Bobcats the lead going into the half. The Bobcats marched off the field to reconvene and rest before another high-energy half of football.

Second Half Struggles

The Patriots came out swinging to open the second half, putting points on the board early after a connection between Simmons and Tyner. The extra point was blocked by Buchholz, knotting the game up at 27-27. The Buchholz defense continued to struggle against an impressive performance from Simmons, allowing him into the end zone for his third rushing touchdown of the night.

Creed Carries Bobcats to Victory

After beginning the drive on their own 5-yard line, Creed Whittemore was able to rally his offense and march 95 yards down the field into the end zone to keep their season alive with just 47 seconds remaining. The Bobcats took a risk and went for the two-point conversion and the win, rather than tying the game with an extra point. This choice ultimately paid off and the team returned to Gainesville with a victory.

Looking Ahead

Following the celebration, Head Coach Mark Whittemore gave some insight into how he felt his guys performed.

When asked what needed to be improved before the regional semifinal game, Whittemore expressed that he felt his team “needed to work on [their] efficiency.”

The Bobcats will face the Crestview Bulldogs on November 18 at 7 p.m. in the regional semifinal.

About Shelby Hickman

Shelby Hickman is a student at the University of Florida studying journalism with a specialization in sports and media.

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