Wolves 42, Warriors 6
Difference maker: Buford’s Thomas Wilson scored three touchdowns in the first half (two rushing, one receiving).
Stat that matters: The Wolves defense held the Warriors without a first down until the first play of the fourth quarter.
Turning point: Wilson capped a 15-play, 80-yard drive to start the game with a 13-yard scoring run to take a 7-0 lead.
Who’s next: Buford visits Dawson County on Friday; White County hosts North Hall in Cleveland.
BUFORD — Buford’s 42-6 win against White County was marked with efficiency in all phases of the game Friday.
The Wolves had touchdown drives that consumed large chunks of the clock in the opening half, while senior quarterbacks Montgomery VanGorder and Taylor Mitchell, who share the starting role, combined to complete 16 of 19 passes for 172 yards.
And the defense for top-ranked Buford (6-0, 3-0 Region 7-AAA) was, well, par for the course, holding White County without a first down until running back Maurice Sutton ran it for a gain of 10 on the first play of the final period of play.
The Wolves have dominated on defense all season and don’t look like a program with any plans of bending any time soon.
In three region outings, Buford has outscored opponents 168-6.
“Our defense has just been dominating and I’m so proud of those guys,” Buford coach Jess Simpson said. “The depth we have on that side of the ball is exceptional.
“They know they’re going to have to share playing time and are all so unselfish about it and cheer for each other.”
White County (4-2, 2-1) put together a solid scoring drive in the fourth quarter, capped with a 1-yard run from quarterback A.J. Vandiver (seven carries, 57 runs) in the final minutes of the game. All 96 of the Warriors’ yards came on the ground.
Buford’s offense took control of the game with its trademark power-run game, along with the added wrinkle of throwing running back and University of Missouri pledge Thomas Wilson into the wildcat formation for some big gains. After 15- and 13-play scoring drives on offense in the first half, Buford had the game well under control with a 21-0 lead.
Wilson finished with 71 yards rushing on the night, along with a pair of catches for 33 yards.
“We have an offense where we like to fly up and down the field,” said Wilson, who has had plays where he is the running quarterback sprinkled in all season.
On the first drive, Wilson ran it in from the 13 on the first drive of the game to complete an 80-yard drive that took more than seven minutes off of the clock with the help of three third-down conversions. After the score, the Wolves went with an onside kick and recovered it at the Warriors’ 41.
“The execution by our offense was amazing to have that many plays in a drive moving forward without turnovers and penalties,” Simpson said. “I felt like it was a very clean game for us all around.”
When Buford got on the field after the recovery, Wilson lined up in the shotgun formation at quarterback, took a direct snap and split a pair of defenders for a 41-yard touchdown run. Wilson also scored on an 18-yard touchdown pass from VanGorder in the final seconds of the first half to take a 35-0 lead and generated a running clock for the second half.
“Thomas is such an explosive player,” said Mitchell, who completed 12 of 13 passes. “Having him out there adds a lot to our offense.”
Also in the first half, standout linebacker Korie Rogers, lining up at tight end, caught a pass and went in 25 yards for the touchdown to take a three-touchdown lead. The drive started at the 14 for Buford, though White County punted it from about the 10 after a fumble by Buford’s return man, a bounce backward off his hands before landing on the ball, compounded by a holding penalty.
However, Buford didn’t stay pinned back for long. Wilson had an 8-yard reception on the first play, followed two plays later by an 18-yard grab by Tre’ Neal. Once the ball was in White County territory, Wilson had a 15-yard reception.
The Wolves’ other touchdown in the first half came on a fourth-and-1 play with a 23-yard sprint to the end zone by sophomore running back Xavier Gantt.
On Friday, Buford visits Dawson County in Dawsonville; White County entertains fourth-ranked North Hall in Cleveland.