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Buford overwhelms North Oconee, 58-3
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BOGART — North Oconee knew what it was up against when Buford made the trip to Bogart.

The Titans had seen the two-time defending state champion Wolves on film. But they were bigger, faster and stronger in person.

Buford (8-0, 5-0 in Region 8-AAAA) routed host North Oconee (5-3, 4-1) 58-3 on Friday.

“They’re even better in person than they are on film,” North Oconee coach Terry Tuley said. “... We didn’t come into it with all our eggs in one basket. We came into it knowing we could shock the world if we won. After that performance, it would have shocked me if we won.

“I’ve had games where you felt like the building fell on you, where you just stung,” Tuley said. “That wasn’t one of those. It wasn’t one of those things where you couldn’t quite understand what went wrong. It was clear from the jump how good they were.”

Buford rolled through the first half of play, recovering two fumbles and picking off a Tate Adcock pass en route to a 37-3 lead at halftime.

“We kind of lost our momentum and faith in each other,” North Oconee senior Zantravious Shields said. “We just didn’t believe we could win the ball game after that first quarter when they had those quick scores. …We kind of started fighting at the end, but we just have to keep fighting.”

Buford tallied four rushing touchdowns in the first half, and Luke Humphrey found Isaac Nauta on a 15-yard pass for another score. A 33-yard field goal with a minute remaining in the first half gave the Wolves a 37-0 lead.

North Oconee, which struggled to find any rhythm on offense, managed to put its first points on the board on its final drive of the half. Kawon Bryant, who’d been held to 21 yards on 10 carries in the first half, returned the kickoff 33 yards. A facemask penalty against Buford left the Titans to start on Buford’s 40-yard line.

Adcock went 3-for-3 on that drive and found Shields on 12-and 9-yard passes and connected with Brandon Gaubert on a 13-yard pass to set up a field goal attempt. Justin Peachey knocked in the 46-yard field goal easily to avoid the shutout.

North Oconee’s offensive woes continued in the second half. Buford scored on its opening drive of the half, and the Titans quickly found itself punting on fourth-and-35. Buford’s David Curry returned the punt for a score.

It was the first time an opponent had scored more than 50 points on the Titans since a 53-21 loss to Woodward Academy in the first round of the Class AAA state playoffs last season.

Buford will host Madison County on Friday. North Oconee, still in play for the second seed in Region 8-AAAA, will visit Stephens County before hosting Madison County in its regular season finale.

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