Eastside-Buchholz game postponed until Saturday

Lightning strikes above the stadium during a delay before the game between Newberry and Santa Fe on Friday in Alachua. The game finally kicked off at 9:45 p.m.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Friday, August 29, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, August 29, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.

As it did a year ago, rain and lightning dominated the first Friday of area high school football.

While Williston at P.K. Yonge was canceled, with no makeup date scheduled, crosstown rivals Eastside and Buchholz have rescheduled their game to this morning at 11:30 at Citizens Field.

“It is pretty much a must right now with the lightning,” said Bobcats coach Mark Whittemore after the decision was reached. “We wanted the most optimal time, but there is a lot of factors that go into that. Monday is a holiday, they (Eastside) play a very intense game on Friday night against Gainesville High and we got Clay County. We are both playing very tough opponents in week two. None of our open dates lined up.”

Buchholz has been hampered by rain since the spring game in Alachua, which was stormed out on its original date, then rescheduled (with FHSAA approval) on June 1. Then in the fall classic last week against Bradford at Citizens Field, another cancellation because of lightning. Add the season opener, and there came the storms again.

“This is crazy,” Whittemore said. “I have never been in a situation when both classics and now my first game were rained out. It is unprecedented.”

While both teams were willing to wait it out a bit Friday night, lightning continued to be a problem. Both teams had different idle weeks — the Bobcats on Sept. 26 and Rams on Oct. 10. Trying to work that out would mean rescheduling with other schools, which couldn't happen.

Monday was considered, but because both teams had tough games four days later and an 80-percent chance of rain, Saturday morning became the best option.

“I would have rather played it tonight, but the lightning kept on popping,” said Eastside coach Jeff Parker. “We definitely wanted to get it in before Monday. To play Buchholz then and then Gainesville on Friday would be a tough turnaround for everyone.

“They want to play. They didn't want to wait until Monday but are excited about playing tomorrow.”

“This is big for the kids,” Whittemore said. “We want it to be safe and want them to be safe. This is a game that is important, plus we still haven't played a game in a while. We need a game.”

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