Rams lose to Buchholz

Team will face Gainesville High Friday


Running back Dantez Willis, No. 21, of the Eastside Rams, runs with the ball during the game against the Buchholz Bobcats at Citizens Field.

Brad McClenny/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 4, 2013 at 2:04 p.m.

The Eastside High School football team will try to notch a game in the win column this season when it faces archrival Gainesville High School.

Facts

RAMS GAME

* What: Eastside High School Rams vs. Gainesville High School Purple Hurricanes.

* When: 7:30 p.m. Friday.

* Where: Citizens Field, 1100 NE 14th St.

* Cost: $7.

* Information: Call 352-955-6704.

The game will be played at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Citizens Field.

The two teams, both off to a 0-1 start this season after losing last week in their regular season openers, will play each other early in the season for the first time in recent history.

Despite a tough 13-7 loss to Buchholz Friday night at Citizens Field, Eastside coach Jeff Parker said his team will be ready for the Purple Hurricanes, which lost 49-7 Friday on the road to Columbia County High School. "We have talented kids on this team, but sometimes they feel like they can turn it on and turn it off when they want to," said Parker, after the disappointing loss to Buchholz. "Great teams are consistent all of the time, and we have to get consistent with our effort and not feel like we can just turn it on and off."

The game between the Rams and the Bobcats went down to the wire just like most games in the past between the two schools. In fact, the game was 7-6 in favor of Buchholz until Buchholz defensive back Laron James picked off a pass by Eastside junior quarterback Landon Rogers and returned it for a 35-yard touchdown to put the game on ice with 4:16 left in the game.

The game began with a delay of game penalty on Buchholz because its band took too long to get off the field after playing the National Anthem. However, the penalty had no effect on the opening kickoff from the Rams, which chose not to play its starting kicker Joseph Malu because of unspecified reasons.

The Bobcats Naquan Howard returned the opening kickoff to the Eastside 40-yard line, and several plays later, sophomore quarterback Jackson White hit senior slot receiver Quinlan Washington for a five-yard touchdown to put the Bobcats ahead 7-0 with 8:13 to play in the first quarter.

The Rams made the score 7-6 after senior defensive lineman Barry Johnson checked into the game as a tight end and caught a quick 5-yard touchdown after running in motion before the play with 7:52 left in the second quarter. The Eastside extra point attempt was unsuccessful.

The Rams forced three Buchholz turnovers, but only managed to score as a result of one of them.

After the Rams face GHS, they will travel to play perennial state powerhouse Ocala Trinity Catholic on Sept. 13. before starting its District 5-5A schedule the following week at Belleview.

"We want the kids to play the best teams this area has to offer," Parker said. "This is about getting ready for districts and seeing what we've got. Buchholz is going to beat a lot of people this year. What's important now is how we bounce back and get ready for the next one."

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