Four Alachua County teams remaining entering round two of playoffs

(Clockwise from top left) Buchholz, Newberry, Eastside and Hawthorne are the four Alachua County teams that enter the regional semifinals on Friday.
(Clockwise from top left) Buchholz, Newberry, Eastside and Hawthorne are the four Alachua County teams that enter the regional semifinals on Friday.
Photos by C.J. Gish

There are four Alachua County football teams remaining in the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) state playoffs – unbeaten teams Buchholz and Hawthorne, along with Eastside and Newberry.

Eastside travels to Bradford (Starke) for a Class 2S-Region 2 Semifinal.

The No. 4 seed Rams (8-3) survived and advanced with a 28-27 win at home against No. 5 seed Palatka last Friday, while the top seed Tornadoes (11-0) posted their fifth shutout of the season with a 42-0 win against No. 8 Atlantic (Port Orange).

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They will face an unbeaten Tornadoes team that has outscored its opponents, 363-42, including a 34-7 win at home against Eastside on Sept. 15.

Our two broadcasts this week involve the other three county teams still alive.

Defending 1R state champion Hawthorne will host Newberry in our radio Game of the Week on 106.9 FM “I am Country” with free audio available at The All-County showdown will kick off at 7:30 p.m.

Our coverage on the radio begins at 7 p.m.

If defense wins championships, then the host Hornets (9-0) could repeat this year.

Hawthorne is allowing just 6.7 points per game.

“Honestly, we have been able to be successful this year because all the guys have fully bought in and worry about doing their individual jobs as a collective unit,” said Hawthorne defensive coordinator Dustin Adkins. “We have played fast and physical all year and have carried that over each week, regardless of the opponent.”

It won’t be an easy task against 9-2 Newberry, which boasts a 2,000-yard passer in sophomore Keil McGriff (2,191 yards and 26 TDs) and a “dynamic running back” in sophomore Kaleb Woods (1,189 yards, 15 TDs).

Plus, they have plenty of skilled position players, including Woods, who finished with 172 yards and three touchdowns receiving last week in a 49-16 win against Chiefland in the opening round of the 1R playoffs.

“Newberry is a tough opponent and one of the most skilled rosters we have faced this year,” Adkins said. “In order to be effective Friday we have to limit the big plays and swarm to the football. Newberry is a very well coached team and if we put ourselves in bad situations they will capitalize on those mistakes. We have to be disciplined and understand our assignments in order to limit their offense and strengths.”

The Hornets have plenty of offensive weapons on a team that averages 43.2 ppg, led by quarterback C.J. Ingram (1,896 passing, 27 TDs, 2 INT in 138 attempts).

The Panthers and head coach Ed Johnson were our guests on our weekly podcast on Wednesday. Find out what the team had to say about the game.

Meanwhile, the Buchholz football team gets ready for round two of the Class 4S playoffs after a dominating 59-0 home win last Friday against Mosley (Lynn Haven).

“Last week we did a good job of playing with a lot of energy and sticking to the plan,” said Buchholz head coach Chuck Bell. “It was great to see us excel in all three phases of the game and build some positive playoff momentum heading into Round 2.”

The top overall seeded Bobcats (11-0) will host No. 4 seed Ponte Vedra, which advanced with a 49-36 win against Creekside (St. Johns) last week.

The visiting Sharks (8-3) are averaging 32.6 points per game while the Bobcats are giving up just 12 ppg.

Ponte Vedra is very balanced offensively, averaging 195.1 yards passing and 189.3 yards per game rushing.

“Ponte Vedra is a very good football team and has been one of the most overlooked teams in the state this season, in my opinion,” Bell said. “They have multiple players with Power-5 offers, a veteran coaching staff, and are playing their best football right now. My biggest concerns are trying to slow down their rushing attack and handling the pressure they bring on defense.”

We are partnering once again with the NFHS Network to bring you video coverage of the games too.

The Alachua County foursome are four of eight teams in the Mainstreet Daily News coverage area who are in action tonight.

In Class 1R, No. 2 seed Fort White (9-1) hosts No. 3 seed Union County (Lake Butler) (7-3) in a Region 2 semifinal, and top seed Williston (10-0) hosts No. 4 seed Pahokee (6-4) in 1R-Region 3.

Here are this week’s football broadcasts:

Friday, 7 p.m. (PREGAME) – High School Football, 7:30 p.m. (KICKOFF) 

No. 3 Newberry at No. 2 Hawthorne

Radio:  “I am Country” 106.9 FM Gainesville

‘Live’ audio:

‘Live’ & ‘archived’ VIDEO via the NFHS Network

Join Mainstreet Daily News Sports Director Mike Ridaught (Play-by-play), Cam Parker (Color), and Aiden Wacksman (Pregame/Halftime/Postgame) for this Class 1R-Region 4 Semifinal. Defending 1R state champion Hawthorne was off last week, while Newberry advanced with a 49-16 win against Chiefland.

Friday, 7:15 p.m. (PREGAME) – High School Football, 7:30 p.m. (Kickoff)

No. 4 Ponte Vedra at No. 1 Buchholz

‘Live’ & ‘archived’ VIDEO via the NFHS Network

Join Marty Pallman (Play-by-play) and Joshua Wilson (Producer/NFHS) for this Class 4S-Region 1 Semifinal from Citizens Field. The host Bobcats (11-0) advanced with a blow out of Mosley (Lynn Haven), 59-0, last Thursday in the opening round of the 4S state playoffs.

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