The Florida High School Athletic Association Football State Championships are in progress with the No 1. Buchholz Bobcats taking on the No. 4 Ponte Vedra Sharks at home on Friday for the regional semifinals.
Buchholz is undefeated, 11-0 overall and 4-0 in the district, their best season since 2001. They have yet to win a game by less than 24 points. Ponte Vedra is 8-3, their best season since 2018-2019.
The Bobcats defeated No. 8 Mosely last Friday 59-0 in their biggest playoff victory in Buchholz history. Buchholz Head Coach Chuck Bell said it was a great way to start the playoffs.
“Ponte Vedra is probably one of the more overlooked teams in the state to me,” Bell said. “They’re a really, really well-coached team.” The first-year coach said the Shark’s defense does a great job at pressuring the quarterback and that because of this his offense needs to be able to get the ball out of their hands quickly. Bell talked about the weapons on Ponte Vedra’s team, including their massive running back, high-scoring tight end and an offensive tackle who is committed to the University of Michigan.
In Ponte Vedra’s three losses, they have only lost by a total of nine points. The Sharks took down No. 5 Creekside 49-36 last Friday after junior running back Brian Case had three touchdowns and rushed for 175 yards.
Buchholz Head Coach Chuck Bell
Bell is a Gainesville native who attended Buchholz High School his freshman year, before transferring to a school in Southern Georgia. Bell came to the University of Florida after attending the Naval Academy for two years. He finished his education as a Gator and came back to work with the football team. This is his first year as the football team’s head coach.
The Bobcats and Sharks will go head to head for the second round of the FHSAA playoffs at Citizens Field on Friday at 7:30 p.m. The winner will move on to the regional finals, which are set to take place on Nov. 24.