What started out as a beautiful night of football on opening night turned ugly as Buchholz’s game at Columbia was postponed.
Weather was a factor again, but so was an off-field distraction on the home side of the stadium.
According to the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, a deputy observed two males jumping a fence near the south side of the stadium. Deputies immediately contacted the individuals behind the home stands.
During that interaction, one of the individuals became combative. Both subjects were detained where it was discovered they were each armed with a handgun and then arrested.
Ironically, the incident behind the stadium coincided with a lightning delay, sending all fans to their vehicles.
“The superintendent from Alachua Schools made the decision that they didn’t want the game played here,” Columbia coach Brian Allen told the Lake City Reporter. “We definitely wanted to make sure their coaches knew about the incident that occurred. Obviously, they wanted to play as a staff and their AD did as well, but the call was over their head. They made the decision to not go tonight. For all the implications this game has later in the year with the rankings and how things go there, we have to play it. We’re not going to not play it, so that decision has been made and we’ll head over there (Saturday).”
Buchholz was leading 14-0 at the end of the first quarter when the game was delayed.
“Any time that you can’t play a game that’s scheduled, no matter if it’s weather or extenuating circumstances in different areas such as tonight, it’s frustrating,” said Buchholz coach Chuck Bell. “But Coach Allen is a professional and we worked together and we came up with the best solution. You can’t make everybody happy in this business, and you learn that as a head coach, but I think that both of us are comfortable with the decision to play tomorrow night at 7 p.m. at Citizens and we’re looking forward to getting these three quarters in.”
The Bobcats were able to have some success against the Tigers in this matchup of state semifinalists from a year ago.
Senior running back Quinton Cutler, who rushed for 1,000 yards last season, opened the scoring with a 23-yard touchdown run with 5:30 to play in the first quarter. Senior Jonathan Edwards’ extra point capped a 56-yard drive for a 7-0 lead.
Then on the final play of the quarter, sophomore quarterback Trace Johnson threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to sophomore D.J. Hicks.
After giving up a 35-yard pass play on the first play from scrimmage, the Buchholz defense settled down.
“I think early on we were a little bit iffy on defense, had a couple of busts there,” Bell said. “They showed a couple of things that they hadn’t shown on film yet. But overall, I’m pleased to see Trace come in and sustain a couple of good drives there. We only had one 3-and-out in the first quarter. Overall, you win a quarter 14-0, if you can do that four quarters in a row you’re doing pretty good. I know that Columbia is going to make some adjustments, as will we, so tomorrow is a new day and it will be a new ballgame.”
Fans who purchased tickets to Friday night’s game will be admitted to Saturday night’s game at Citizens Field.