Northeast Florida Sports Jacksonville

Tough Loss For Oakleaf Against Visiting Buchholz

With less than thirty seconds remaining Buchholz had the ball on the Oakleaf 45 yard line. It was 4th down and Buchholz elected to punt. The score was 20-14 and all the Bobcats had to do was get the punt off and the game was virtually over. Up to this point in the game the Buchholz defense had shut down Oakleaf’s offense. Oakleaf could manage only seven points through four quarters. They gained their second touchdown late in the fourth on a slant pattern thrown by Quarterback Jordan Johnson to WR # 85 Darius Perry to pull within six points of the Bobcats. Up to that point the Knight’s running game was virtually non-existent, and Johnson could not get in rhythm with his receivers all game.

But there was still hope for the Knights on this night, as the punt that was supposed to be never took place. The snap sailed over the punters head and the home crowd erupted, knowing that this was the best chance for their team steal one in their own house. The ball bounced back toward the Buchholz goal-line. Several Oakleaf defenders had a shot to scoop and score on the ball, but the pigskin ricocheted off the hands of the players attempting to recover the ball. It was finally recovered by Oakleaf on the Buchholz 5 yard line.

With just eight seconds left in the game, Oakleaf had an opportunity for the go ahead score, but possessed no timeouts. Head Coach Derek Chipoletti had a decision on his hands. He could get one shot at the endzone by running the ball, but could possibly get two shots at the endzone by passing. On first down he elected to pass, Johnson threw a fade into the right corner of the endzone, that sailed to high for anyone to get their hands on. Oakleaf surprisingly challenged Buchholz DB Marcus Clayton who had victimized Johnson earlier in the game with an interception.

With just three second left, the next play would be the last of the game. Oakleaf’s center and quarterback now certainly wish they could have it back. A low snap required Johnson to retrieve the ball from the ground. The play already unscheduled put Johnson in a position to improvise. He instinctively rolled to his right to evade pressure from the blitzing middle backers and rushing defensive line. He tried to side step the defender #7 DE Taylor Garrison for the Bobcats, but Garrison held on for the sack and the ball game was over.


Credit goes to Coach Mark Whittmore and his team for finishing. His team never looked flustered or worried, even when Oakleaf got the ball at their own five yard line. It’s a testament to what he and his staff preached to the kids about the big game at Oakleaf. Marcus Clayton said Coach Whittmore has spoken to his team about these types of moments. “Pretty much to come out and finish, and we have to prepare and correct”. Clayton also had a kick return in the game for one of the bobcat touchdowns on the evening.

Buchholz now has the inside track in the district at 1-0 in district play. There’s still alot of football to be played but I believe Buchholz gained a very important win against what many believed to be the best team in the district.

As for Oakleaf, it was without question a tough loss. The players and coaches knew they had to have this one. But I believe this is the wake up call the Knights needed. There was a lot of hype surrounding the team thanks to several players who transferred from other good programs from around the city to come play for the Knights. imageThe team was exceptional in 2014 which built much enthusiasm for the 2015 season. Yet the team I saw earlier this season was missing something. This is the reason I had them ranked #6 in our power rankings  when many others had them ranked much higher in their perspective rankings.

I know this team has potential but needed a Epsom salt slap in the face. Buchholz provided that proverbial slap on Friday. However this loss will help Oakleaf more than it will hurt them, if the players regain that “something to prove  swagger”  from last year.  I think they will respond well, but it was a tough loss to bare.

FINAL: 20-14 Buchholz over Oakleaf

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