GHS rallies past rival Buchholz
Early on at Citizen’s Field, in the 46th installment of the Buchholz vs. Gainesville High football series, the Class 7A Bobcats looked like they might have the upper hand for the mythical city title.
Buchholz, which was playing without injured starting quarterback Cam Orth, built a 14-3 lead with 9:29 to play in the second quarter when Trent Whittemore, who started in place of Orth, threw a 9-yard TD pass to junior Blake Mitchell.
However, the Purple Hurricanes (4-1) would rally with 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 31-21 win. It was their second consecutive win against their rival and the seventh in the last nine games.
Down 11 in the first half, GHS finally got into the end zone, scoring with 4:48 to play in the second quarter on a 3-yard TD run by sophomore Kinnzon Hutchinson to make it 14-10.
That’s when momentum was seized.
On the Bobcats’ next possession, Whittemore rolled to his right and then threw back to his left.
The dangerous pass proved to be costly as senior free safety Julien Cromwell picked it off and returned it 14 yards for the score just 21 seconds after the previous touchdown. That gave the Hurricanes their first lead of the game at 17-14.
Buchholz, which won the toss but deferred to the second half, opened up the third quarter with a score.
Bobcats’ junior Edward Cason scored on a 2-yard TD run and the game see-sawed the other way, giving Buchholz a 21-17 lead under two minutes into the third quarter.
The ‘Canes marched right down the field and looked to answer. However, the Bobcats stopped Gainesville on a 4th-and-goal at the 2 with 7:32 to play in the third to preserve the lead.
It remained a four-point Bobcats’ lead heading into the final quarter.
However, senior Willie ‘Missile’ McKnight scored both of his touchdowns in the fourth to put the game away.
“In between the third and fourth quarter, we talked about winning that quarter,” GHS coach Mark Latsko told the Gainesville Sun. “If you win the fourth quarter, you are going to win the football game.”
Buchholz, which dropped to 2-4, will host Creekside (St. Johns) next Thursday, Oct. 12, while GHS gets ready for a Class 6A-District 5 showdown against state-ranked and unbeaten Vanguard (Ocala).