By Shelby Hickman and Rachel Rosen
The Buchholz Bobcats will travel to Venice High School to face the Indians in the FHSAA class 4S state semifinal on Friday, Dec. 2, with kick-off set for 7:30 p.m.
Bobcats So Far
The Bobcats advanced to the playoffs with a regular season record of 7-2. In their first playoff matchup, they narrowly beat the Pace Patriots in a 35-34 fight to the finish. Entering the second round, there was a dramatic shift in the defense’s efficiency that complimented an offense that dominated all season. They prevailed over the Crestview Bulldogs in a 54-33 victory where they would then face Bartram Trail in the regional final. Buchholz went into the game seeking vengeance since Bartram Trail after losing to them 21-6 in the regular season. The Bobcats were the underdogs entering this matchup but came out on top when it mattered the most. They knocked out the undefeated Bears at home in a 21-20 victory on Friday.
The Venice Indians kicked off their playoff run with an astonishing 87-20 blowout of the Riverdale Raiders. This momentum continued into the next round where they shut out the Lehigh Lightning 39-0. Venice enters the regional final ready to send their next opponent home. It succeeded in doing so when it rolled over the Riverview Sarasota Rams 35-15, earning a spot in the state semifinal.
For the Bobcats, quarterback Creed Whittemore has stood out all season. Playing on both sides of the ball, he has been a weapon and key factor in Buchholz’s success. He is committed to Mississippi State.
On the receiving end, wide receiver Jaren Hamilton is a force to be reckoned with. He will continue his football career at the University of Alabama. The chemistry between Whittemore and Hamilton will be one to look out for in this high-stakes game.
On the defensive line, Florida commit Gavin Hill is a playmaker that any quarterback should fear. The Bobcats have a massive amount of talent on their roster and the Indians will need to play their best football if they want to triumph.
For the Indians, four-star defensive end Damon Wilson is a juggernaut on the line. He is not yet committed but has offers from power five schools such as Ohio State University and the University of Georgia. Complimenting him in the backfield, four-star defensive back Elliot Washington is an absolute powerhouse. He will further his football journey at Penn State University. These defenders will be critical in stopping the Bobcats dynamic duo. Both of these players are All-Americans.
All of these players are highly sought after, receiving a plethora of Division I offers.