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MURPHY: Buford: Simply the best

POSTED: December 21, 2007 5:03 a.m.

Buford left quite an impression on football fans last weekend. The Wolves’ breakfast edition of Class AA semifinal football was probably the most complete team that played in the Dome.

Buford would have had a good reason to play a little flat with such an early morning kick off. But the Wolves responded with an absolute drubbing of co-defending state champ Dublin, 48-0.

I was looking for some kind of kink in Buford’s armor. Not that I wanted the Wolves to lose, quite the contrary. But if anyone could give Buford its first quality game of the season, surely it would have been the Fighting Irish. But from the looks of things, Buford has cornered the market in Class AA this season.

That’s really not a surprise. I just wanted to see a competitive state championship game this weekend.

But if the semifinals are any indication, that may have just been wishful thinking.

In the end, the Wolves rolled up 300 yards of offense against Dublin aided by great field position, and were relentless with the ball only having to punt it away once.

The offensive response by the Wolves was what they’ve done all season. Buford even got three touchdowns from big fullback Tyler King. But the highest point total of any of the 20 teams playing in the semifinals last weekend showed this unit from Buford is special.

And, oh yeah, the defense played pretty good. Shutting down Dublin’s versatile wing-T offense completely (-2 yards in the first quarter) and, having given up only 89 total yards, showed that Buford’s biggest strength is probably its defensive domination. It’s easy to see that Buford is absolutely physically imposing just at first glance.

The Wolves are quicker and hit harder than anyone else as evidenced by the fact that they forced three fumbles against Dublin and made it absolutely impossible for Fighting Irish quarterback Rashard Smith to get rid of the ball.

I about left the couch when Buford’s 310-pound lineman Omar Hunter chased down Dublin’s 180-pound quarterback and grabbed him by the back of the jersey for another teammate to come in and finish the tackle.

Simply put, there were no kinks in Buford’s armor at all. The only other teams that looked as good in the Dome were Wilcox County and North Gwinnett. Lowndes, Carver-Columbus, Cairo, Northside-Warner Robins and Ware County all earned trips to the state finals as well, but none looked anywhere remotely as dominant as Buford.

Lowndes and Ware County can’t score. Carver and Cairo make too many mental mistakes. Northside is still without a completely healthy quarterback.

But Buford has all the pieces in place. The buzz around the Dome on Saturday was that even though the Wolves are a Class AA school, they could still be the best in any classification.

Now the Wolves await a championship game against Lovett on Saturday at Tom Riden Stadium in Buford. Lovett already lost, in a 21-0 shutout, to the Wolves in the Region 6-AA championship game this season. And the Lions had the cushion of more than 200-yards in penalties against the Wolves in that game, and still couldn’t capitalize. For the record, I wasn’t impressed with what I saw out of Lovett against Cook in the semifinals. This game should be a cake walk for the Wolves and first state title since the days of Darius Walker in 2003.

But rest assured that every fan paying attention to high school football knows that this Buford team is for real.



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