It was an instant classic at Booster Stadium in Ocala on Friday night.
With the score tied 21-21, Buchholz senior kicker Reed Rousseau drilled a 37-yard field goal with 14 seconds to play to give the visiting Bobcats a 24-21 win.
“It’s tough to come to Booster Stadium and win,” said Buchholz coach Mark Whittemore. “I’ve been doing this for 26 years and the wins are hard to come by at this place. There’s something about it, so I’m really thankful to come in and get a win against a really good Vanguard team.”
The Knights (3-2) tied the game at 21-21 on a 32-yard touchdown run by junior 4-star athlete Fred Gaskin with 5:50 to play.
After Buchholz was stopped a yard short on a fake punt, Vanguard took over at their own 30-yard line with 2:29 to play.
However, the Bobcats (4-0) played good defense and forced a punt, taking over at the Vanguard 38-yard line with 1:26 to play and setting up the game-winner.
Rousseau got a chance to redeem himself after missing a 32-yard field goal with 5:04 to play in the third.
“He sure enough did,” Whittemore said. “He’s going to be clutch for us down the stretch.”
Both quarterbacks were clutch.
Senior Creed Whittemore, a UF commit, led the Bobcats down the field on the first possession of the game.
Whittemore capped the 75-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to James Williams for a 7-0 lead a little over two minutes into the game.
Late in the first quarter, Vanguard blocked a punt and recovered at the Bobcats’ 10-yard line.
Gaskin, who is the No. 38 overall junior in Florida according to 247Sports, tied the game on a 15-yard touchdown pass to senior Lenard Hill just six seconds into the second quarter.
Buchholz began its first drive of the second half at their own 19-yard line and proceeded to march 81 yards for the go-ahead score as Whittemore found Jaren Hamilton across the middle on a 45-yard scoring pass for a 14-7 lead with 7:21 to play in the third quarter.
After Rousseau’s miss just two minutes later, the Knights tied the game on a 4th-and-2 as Gaskin found junior Tay’juan Farmer-Leslie on a 32-yard scoring pass with 9:12 to play.
The see-saw quarter saw the Bobcats answer as Whittemore ran it in from two yards out on 3rd-and-goal for a 21-14 lead with 6:55 left.
“The ball bounced their way a little bit, the ball bounced our way a little bit,” Whittemore said. “We kind of bumbled, stumbled around but then again so did they. Neither team really got a lot of traction consistently.”
Buchholz will head into its bye week with another big win on its resume.
“There were a ton of good athletes on the field,” Whittemore noted. “There were probably 8 to 10 SEC ballplayers, so it was pretty fun.”
Friday, Sept. 23
Branford 22, Paxon (Jacksonville) 21
Cornerstone Charter Academy (Bell Isle) 35, Bronson 0
Oak Hall School 35, Eagle’s View (Jacksonville) 0
Seven Rivers Christian (Lecanto) 52, St. Francis Catholic Academy 8
Hamilton County (Jasper) 38, Bell 21
Buchholz 24, Vanguard (Ocala), 21
Trinity Christian (Jacksonville) 43, Columbia (Lake City) 30
Dixie County (Cross City) 26, Jefferson County (Monticello) 20 (OT)
Williston 56, Fort White 28
Santa Fe (Alachua) 14, Gainesville 7
Interlachen 26, Keystone Heights 12
Bradford (Starke) 21, Munroe (Quincy) 7
Hawthorne 46, P.K. Yonge 6
Suwannee (Live Oak) 10, North Marion (Citra) 7
Union County (Lake Butler) 45, Newberry 0
OFF – Eastside, Chiefland, Trenton