After some early-evening drizzles and a 30-minute lightning delay, football was finally played at Citizens Field Friday night between the Eastside Rams and Buchholz Bobcats. And in the end, it was the Bobcats who won the inner-city rivalry, 42-7.
“It was incredible,” Buchholz coach Mark Whittemore said when talking about the atmosphere Friday night. “Our stands were packed. Great student support. Great community support.”
Arguably the biggest storyline was the Buchholz offense, as the Bobcats (3-0) could not be stopped on the way to a 42-point performance.
Junior quarterback Creed Whittemore got things going for Buchholz, hitting senior wide receiver Quan Lee for an 80-yard touchdown pass to put the Bobcats up 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Creed found the end zone again on Buchholz’s next drive, this time on a pass to senior wide receiver Adrian Sermons, to put the Bobcats up 14-0.
The first-quarter scoring continued as Creed connected with Sermons for a second time in the corner of the end zone to push the lead to 21-0.
“Big plays by some really good football players,” Mark said. “Great protection. We wanted to make sure we put the ball in the air a little bit and be clean in the passing game. And relatively speaking, I think we were.”
The Rams (0-3) struggled to get much offense going in the opening quarter and throughout the game, as penalties also hurt Eastside for most of the night.
Lee took a Rams punt back for a touchdown on the first play of the second quarter to push the lead to 28-0.
Eastside’s offense finally got on the scoreboard after junior quarterback Holden Johnson connected over the middle of the field with senior wide receiver Darius Moore, who broke out of a tackle on the way to the end zone to pull within 28-7 with just over seven minutes left in the first half.
Creed would tack on one more touchdown pass connecting with junior wide receiver Jacarree Kelly. A 17-yard touchdown run by Lee would cap off a 42-point half by Buchholz.
The Bobcats’ defense would do its job in the second half, not allowing the Rams to find the end zone once and preserving the big lead by game’s end.
In all, Creed finished with four touchdown passes on the night, with all four coming in the first half. Sermons finished with two touchdown receptions, while Lee tallied three TDs.
Buchholz returns to Citizens Field next week to take on the defending 4A champion Cardinal Gibbons. Eastside, meanwhile, will hit the road to take on Menendez in St. Augustine.
In recent action on August 27, Gainesville Buchholz faced off against Dunnellon and Gainesville Eastside took on Gainesville P. K. Yonge on August 27 at Gainesville Eastside High School. For a full recap, click here.