Buchholz earns spot in playoffs

Buchholz wide receiver Jared Goar catches a touchdown pass in the second quarter Thursday against Ocala West Port at Citizens Field.

Matt Benson/Correspondent
Published: Thursday, November 1, 2012 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Friday, November 2, 2012 at 12:06 a.m.

With one game on the line for a playoff berth, the Buchholz Bobcats wouldn't be denied Thursday night at Citizens Field, led by a pair of seniors.

Even when Ocala West Port took an early interception back 70 yards for the first score of the night, it didn't faze Buchholz, only made it that more determined.

The Bobcats scored 34 unanswered points, with senior quarterback Bryce Goston accounting for four touchdowns and senior Kenny Scott rushing for 136 yards and a score in a convincing 34-7 win over the Wolf Pack. The victory earned Buchholz the runner-up spot in District 1-7A, and more importantly, its first playoff berth since 2008.

“They knew there was a lot on the line, trying to restore some history here at Buchholz,” said Bobcats first-year coach Mark Whittemore. “I am so happy for this school. Four years is a long time.

“The goal going into this season was to play hard-nosed, tough football with a defensive mentality and to the whistle. If you play hard, the wins will take care of themselves.”

Buchholz (5-5 overall, 3-1 in district) took advantage of five West Port turnovers, turning two directly into touchdowns and both coming on kickoff returns.

After Goston scored on a 1-yard run, the Bobcats recovered a Wolf Pack fumble on the ensuing kickoff. One play later, Goston connected with Jared Goar for a 26-yard touchdown and a 13-7 Buchholz lead.

The Bobcats defense repeatedly stymied West Port's run game, which totaled 456 yards a week ago in a victory over Tallahassee Chiles. The Wolf Pack had 140 yards rushing on the night, but never saw the end zone.

“The defense played amazing tonight,” Whittemore said.

Three plays after stopping West Port (4-5, 1-3) at its 34, Buchholz struck again with Goston finding Ahmad Ivey, who turned a short gain into a 51-yard touchdown down the right sideline, and a 20-7 lead.

That lead grew even more with the second-half kickoff when West Port fumbled again, and the Bobcats had it at the Wolf Pack 35. One play later, Goston find a seam inside and ran up the middle for a 36-yard score.

Scott capped the scoring with a three-yard TD midway through the third, ending a drive in which he ran for 60 yards on five carries.

“West Port came in and brought their best and we brought our best,” Scott said. “Everybody is buying into the program and loves it.”

Buchholz will have two weeks to prepare for its state playoff game at No. 2 Jacksonville First Coast on Nov. 16. It marks the first time since 1998 that Buchholz, Eastside and Gainesville are all in the state playoffs in football.

“We are going to bring out best and hope they (First Coast) bring their best,” Scott said. “Whatever happens, happens. We are going to play to the whistle.”

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