The Buchholz Bobcats are visiting the Venice Indians in the semifinal of the 2022 FHSAA 4S football state championship.
Buchholz is coming off of a narrow 21-20 victory over Bartram trail, the only team they lost to in the regular season.
Meanwhile, Venice reeled off an impressive 35-15 victory over Riverview Sarasota.
Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore spoke with Steve Russell ahead of his team’s matchup with Venice.
Buchholz vs Bartram Trail
After losing 21-6 to Bartram Trail in October, Whittemore knew his team was facing a tough test before the playoff rematch.
“There’s a reason why they were 12-0”
Whittemore cited the turnover differential as a big reason why his team was able to come out with the victory. He also complimented his team’s ability to run the ball despite typically being a pass-heavy offense.
Buchholz has a variety of talent in the passing game including Alabama WR commit Jaren Hamilton and Mississippi State commit Creed Whittemore. Coach Whittemore said its frustrating when he can’t get these players the ball, but compliments his players ability to still contribute when they need to run the football.
Venice is no stranger to the state championship, according to Whittemore. Additionally, he says their offense is fast paced and his team will need to dominate possession of the ball if they want to have a chance to win the game.
Whittemore said that Venice’s ability to play fast and do it well is what makes them stand out compared to most teams. “What makes Venice so successful… is their ability to produce a lot of points by playing extremely fast,” he said.
Whittemore added that it’s special for his guys to be one of the last teams still practicing football in the state. “It’s a huge incentive and so much fun,” he said.
Venice finished 8-3 on the season after playing one of the toughest schedules in the state. The team, located just south of Tampa, has won all their playoff games by double digits, including an 87-20 victory over Riverdale. They were also seeded No.1 in their respective region.
Venice is looking to continue their dominant playoff run to the state championship.
Here are the game details for Buchholz vs. Venice.