Buchholz senior quarterback/defensive back Creed Whittemore, who led Buchholz to a second straight state semifinal appearance, has been named the Class 4S Player of the Year by the Florida Dairy Farmers.
Whittemore led the Bobcats to a 10-3 record and the state final four by completing 179-of-305 passes for 2,693 yards with 35 TDs and 7 interceptions. He also rushed for 1,285 yards (8.29 yards per carry) and 17 TDs.
“I think it’s something that every high school athlete wants to achieve,” he said. “But my goals at the beginning of the year was to not try and get caught up in the stats. Our goals were to leave Buchholz in a manner that represents the blood, sweat, and tears on the football field. We won the city championship and fell short in the district championship (against Bartram Trail), but came back to win the regional.”
Buchholz lost at Bartram Trail (St. Johns), 21-6, on Oct. 21 in the 4S-District 3 championship game.
However, the Bobcats edged the Bears (12-1), 21-20, on the road in the 4S-Region 1 Final to advance to the state semifinals.
Whittemore also led the team with six interceptions on defense.
“Creed is totally deserving of the award,” said Buchholz defensive coordinator Chuck Bell, who was named the new head football coach of the Bobcats last month. “His offensive numbers speak for themselves and the fact that he finished the year with six Interceptions in limited defensive playing time, only cements the fact that he was the best player in our classification.”
Among some of his postseason highlights were a 95-yard game-winning drive against Pace with less than a minute to play in the opening round of the 4S playoffs, and his five touchdowns on offense and three interceptions on defense in a 54-33 win against Crestview in the regional semifinals.
“By strategic design, no other player we faced was more critical to his team’s success last season than Creed was to our team,” Bell said. “When Creed was playing well, our team thrived, and in the few times he wasn’t, we struggled. I’m looking forward to Creed continuing to be a fantastic representative of Buchholz football as his football journey continues at Mississippi State and beyond.”
The Mississippi State signee finished ahead of Vandrevius Jacobs of Vero Beach, 130-94.
Jacobs, who signed with Florida State, led his team to the 4S-Region 3 Final by catching 100 passes for 1,511 yds (15.1 avg.) and 21 TDs.
“I’m just thankful I was able to help our team on both sides of the ball,” Whittemore said. “I knew I didn’t let my guys down. You felt like you were more of a leader. I was thankful he (Coach Bell) put me out there and gave me an opportunity and trusted that I wouldn’t get hurt. It was a blessing and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way to complete with my guys offensively and defensively. It’s something that I’ll never forget.”
Whittemore is now one of 10 finalists in the Sunshine State, along with Hawthorne’s Jailen Ruth, for the Mr. Football award, given to the state’s top football player. The winner will be announced on Friday, Jan. 6.
“We played against some great talent,” he said. “Florida is the best state to play high school football. You play talented teams every week. When we get older we can say we played 4S high school football. That is something to be proud of that we played against some of the best. We cared about what we put on the football field and the product that was out there.”
His dad and head coach Mark Whittemore, who recently announced his retirement, finished fourth in the voting for 4S Coach of the Year behind Lakeland’s Bill Castle, Venice’s John Peacock, and Bartram Trail’s Darrell Sutherland.
Columbia’s (Lake City) Demetric Jackson finished third in the voting for 3S Coach of the Year, while Bradford’s (Starke) Jamie Rodgers finished third for the 2S Coach of the Year. Both coaches led their teams to the state semifinals.
Senior Javarion Smith of Suwannee (Live Oak) finished fifth in the voting for 2S Player of the Year after finishing with 53 receptions for 1,039 yards and 13 touchdowns for the 10-3 Bulldogs, who lost at FSU High (Tallahassee) in the 2S Region-1 Final.