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Buford breezes into third round, blitzes Callaway 52-14
Wolves three victories from fourth straight Class AA state title
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BUFORD — Even Buford High coach Jess Simpson has to wonder if his team can peak any higher than it has already. The Wolves breezed into the quarterfinals of the Class AA playoffs with a 52-14 victory Friday over Callaway at Tom Riden Stadium.

Senior quarterback Alex Ross threw for 139 yards, 101 to Paris Head, and C.J. Moore returned a Callaway interception for a touchdown in the first quarter to send second-ranked Buford (11-1) into the quarterfinal round for the 11th consecutive season. The Wolves will face Cook at 7:30 p.m. Friday. A coin flip today will determine the location.

"Man, I'm excited," Simpson said. "That's the fourth week in a row where we've fired on every cylinder in every phase of the game. A bunch of these kids have been here before. The know it's not easy and you can't take anything for granted. But we are playing so well right now."

Things are going so well that even kicker David Petroni got in on the act. He recovered a fumble on the opening kickoff of the second half and ran 16 yards for a touchdown.

When it's your night, it's your night, he said.

"I've never had that happen and I haven't seen it happen before," the sophomore said. "I don't remember much. I saw the ball on the ground, picked it up and ran as much as I could. The guys were jumping all over me in the end zone. It was unreal and I'll never forget it."

This was Buford at its best. The Wolves were dominant on offense and stifling on defense. Callaway (8-4, No. 3 Region 5-AA), gained just 80 yards in the first half and committed four turnovers. The Cavaliers had the same number of first downs in that span.

Moore's interception, off a tip by defensive end Rick Legrant, effectively sealed the game. He and Ryan Dillard, both juniors, each had one fumble recovery in the opening half. Head also had an interception.

"Our line was really getting up field and putting pressure on the quarterback," Moore said. "We saw the dump to the tight end on film and it played out perfectly, just like how we practiced. We work awfully hard on fundamentals and efficency. That's what wins games."

As has been the case in Buford playoff history, Friday's outcome was decided swiftly. The Wolves led 21-0 not even halfway through the first quarter. Junior Andre Johnson scored on a 5-yard run after a 56-yard pass from Ross to Head on the game's first play. Dominique Swope, a senior, scored the first of his two first-half touchdowns on a 2-yard run before Moore returned a Ricky Paris interception 23 yards for another score.

And that was all in just the first 5:37. Johnson added a 2-yard plunge late in the quarter.

Swope scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter, and Petroni booted a 24-yard field goal at the end of the half.

Ross was 4-of-5 in his only two quarters for 139 yards.

"I think (the passing game) surprised them," the senior said. "I heard them tell a couple of our coaches that they weren't afraid of our throwing. We took it as a challenge. Any time the playoffs come around, our guys pick it up. They (Callaway) was a good team. We just started fast and physical and they couldn't catch up. We'll keep doing that for the rest of the season. Hopefully it'll end with another state title."


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