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Football Player of the Week: Chestatee's Blake Buffington

War Eagle senior recorded rushing TD, kickoff return TD, 3 interceptions

POSTED: October 29, 2013 1:03 a.m.

Blake Buffington’s versatility served him well last Friday against Lumpkin County.

The Chestatee senior rarely came out of the game, starting at running back, free safety and kick return specialist. He made every position count with a rushing touchdown, 76-yard kickoff return for a touchdown and three interceptions, leading the War Eagles to a 42-14 win over the Indians.

For his efforts, Buffington is The Times’ Football Player of the Week.

“That game, for me, is definitely the biggest one I’ve ever been part of,” Buffington said. “I felt really good coming into it, and I felt like we were going to come out on top.”

Buffington’s big plays couldn’t have been timelier.

His rushing touchdown, a 14-yard carry with a minute left in the first quarter, erased a 6-0 deficit after Chestatee struggled through a poor opening period.

“Our offensive line opened up, and just hit it as hard as I could,” Buffington said. “I looked up, and nobody was there.”

Buffington’s first two interceptions of the game set up a pair of War Eagle scoring drives. They took a 21-6 lead late in the first half, before Lumpkin County got back within seven after a 73-yard pass play and successful 2-point conversion.

Buffington responded accordingly on the ensuing kick return, lining up behind a key block from teammate Cody Humphries and finding open space to sprint to the end zone.

The return gave the War Eagles a 28-14 halftime lead. They never looked back, cruising to their seventh straight win.

“I just saw one crease and hit it as hard as I could,” Buffington said. “Then I just followed Cody Humphries to the end zone.”

Buffington struck again in the fourth quarter with his final pick, just as Lumpkin County entered Chestatee territory. The War Eagles gave up a fumble on the next play, but got it back one play later with six points on the side after Zach Boerger intercepted a pass and took it 90 yards for Chestatee’s final touchdown.

Just another successful night for a team that Buffington says has mastered the ability to work together as a unit, despite his dazzling individual numbers.

“We have a good offensive line that’s good at opening holes up for the running backs,” he said. “And our defensive line is just unbelievable. They’re a big part of what I did.”

Through eight games this season, Buffington has 287 yards on 84 carries, 33 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. He averages 31 yards per kick return.

“He’s very versatile,” Chestatee coach Stan Luttrell said. “He’s not real big, but he’s been a great-effort kid since the day that I met him. He’s very coachable and he’s always done what I’ve asked him to do.”

At 5-foot-5 and 140 pounds, Luttrell was originally concerned about dealing such a physical workload to a player of his stature.

Those worries are a thing of the distant past.

“He, as well as some other guys in this senior class, have really committed to the weight room and committed to our program,” Luttrell said. “Because of their efforts, they’re able to play on Friday nights. And play at a high level and do a great job.”

Buffington has been a key contributor in patching up Chestatee’s running game after it lost preseason starter A.J. Sijiye due to a torn ACL shortly before the season began. It left him and fellow seniors Zac Cheshire and Tray Bryant left to handle the workload, alongside mobile quarterback Wyatt Burgess.

The War Eagles are averaging 267.8 rushing yards per game, and Buffington continues to be a important element to their ground attack.

“I just knew we had to step up and take that role over,” he said. “The offense is doing pretty good — the line is opening up holes and Wyatt Burgess is doing a good job distributing the ball.”


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