Countdown To Kickoff: Buchholz Bobcats
Buchholz 12-2 last season, made state semis for the first time in 26 years
GAINESVILLE, Fla. (WCJB) -The 2021 Buchholz football season wasn’t good, it was historic. The Bobcats won 12 games and made the state semifinal round (in Florida’s Class 7A) for the first time since 1995. Winning is now expected when you put on the Black and Gold, and it fuels the Bobcats who remain.
“We want to see Buchholz be good for as Long as we can,” said Buchholz senior quarterback Creed Whittemore. “We’ve lived up to guys older than us and we’ve been good for a while and want to keep that tradition.”
Seniors like Whittemore are the caretakers of that tradition. The quarterback, and son of head coach Mark Whittemore, returns after passing for over 2,101 yards and 24 touchdowns as a junior. Whittemore is flanked by receivers Jacarree Kelly and P.K. Yonge transfer Jaren Hamilton.
The Bobcats’ defense held nine opponents to single digits last season, and stars Gavin Hill (DE), Kendall Jackson (DE), and Donny Hiebert (S), can all wreck an opponent’s game plan. Both Whittemore and Hill are Univ. of Florida commits.
“They lead us with a lot of humility, and a lot of joy,” said Buchholz head coach Mark Whittemore. “And they’re very dependable, so having your best players that are already committed be dependable is obviously an important facet of the team.”
“I’ve got to go all out for me, my team, for younger kids coming up, so they know how to do it once they get to my level. State (championship) is the goal,” said Hill.
When it gets to be playoff time, Buchholz will face a much different road to a state title. The Bobcats fell only to Fort Lauderdale powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in last year’s Class 7A state semis. But 2022 is year one of the Metro-Suburban split, in which schools in the eight most populous counties in the state play for their own titles, and the rest of the counties play for separate championships. The Bobcats see the benefit of competing in class 4A suburban.
“I feel if it does affect us, it’ll be more of a positive effect than a negative, which I think in overall fairness, I think it’s a good plan,” said Mark Whittemore.
“A lot of people are putting pressure on us, but we put more on ourselves but that helps us prepare for the season,” said Creed Whittemore.
And if pressure really does make diamonds, these bobcats could very well produce enough to make a championship ring. Buchholz opens play Aug. 25 against Columbia.
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