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High school football notebook: Buford in fine shape after pair of convincing non-region wins

POSTED: September 8, 2013 12:16 a.m.

Two games into the 2013 season, Buford is once again proving to be the big, bad Wolves.

Nine Buford players combined to pile up 355 rushing yards en route to a comfortable 38-14 win over fellow state champion and No. 1 Gainesville Friday night, avenging their 19-15 loss to the Red Elephants last season.

A week earlier, six different Wolves scored touchdowns in a 46-7 win against Elbert County.

The Wolves are once again loaded with Division-I prospects, including running back Joshua Thomas. The junior did the bulk of the damage against Gainesville on Friday with 133 yards on only 13 carries, an average of 10.2 yards per attempt.

Thomas already has offers from several Division-I schools according to Rivals.com and 247 Sports, including Tennessee, Mississippi State and Georgia Tech.

No team is unbeatable, a lesson Buford learned when it ended a dominant 2011 season with a loss to Calhoun in the Class AA state championship game.

However, on the heels of convincing wins against Elbert County and Gainesville, it seems like nothing less than a near-perfect game from an elite team will be enough to stop the Wolves from winning their ninth state championship in the past 13 seasons.

SUN RISING IN THE WEST: The preseason buzz that pegged West Hall as a Region 7-AAA playoff contender is gaining more and more validation each week.

The Spartans proved their 35-0 victory over Johnson was no fluke Friday night, barely coming up short in a 15-14 loss to Chestatee after losing the previous two meetings with their Hall County rival by a combined score of 83-35.

Spartans senior tight end Hunter Atkinson sparked the near-upset with nine catches for 122 yards and a touchdown.

In spite of the heartbreaking defeat, which saw Chestatee pull ahead on a gutsy two point conversion with 5:31 remaining, West Hall has good reason to be optimistic about the remainder of the 2013 season under second-year coach Tony Lotti.

Head-to-head meetings with East Hall, Dawson County and White County later in the season should provide compelling drama and ultimately decide whether the Spartans reach the playoffs for the first time since 2002.

West Hall gets one final non-region tune-up against Lumpkin County this week, before hosting Banks County in the Region 7-AAA opener on Sept. 20.

FLOWERY BRANCH FRESH (MAN) START: It’s been a bad case of deja vu this season for the Falcons, who find themselves in the same 0-2 hole as they did in 2012.

While Flowery Branch has a number of issues to resolve if it hopes to once again shake off a rough start and chase its second straight Region 8-AAAAA title, the team’s running game appears to shaping up nicely despite the absence of 2012 rushing leader Justin Curry.

Curry accounted for more than 1,500 yards of offense and 16 total touchdowns last season as a sophomore before moving out of state in the offseason.

Another talented young player, freshman Jeremiah Goss, emerged in his place Friday night when he carried the ball 20 times for 119 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons’ 35-21 loss to West Forsyth.

The Falcons still need to cut down on turnovers and shore up their defense, but if Goss can produce the way he did Friday on a consistent basis, it could quickly turn one of the team’s biggest question marks into one of its greatest strengths.


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