Carver-Columbus at Buford
When: 7:30 tonight
Where: Tom Riden Stadium, Buford
Coaches: Carver-Columbus, Dell McGee; Buford, Jess Simpson
Records: Carver-Columbus (1-0, 0-0 5-AA); Buford (2-0, 0-0 6A-AA)
Key players: Carver-Columbus, RB Marquez Holloway (5-6, 160 Jr.); QB Torrance McGee (6-0, 170 So.), DT Derious Bennett (6-1, 270 Sr.). Buford, OL Vadal Alexander (6-6, 340 Sr.), TE/LB Dillon Lee (6-5, 240 Sr.), TE/DE Kurt Freitag (6-5, 240 Sr.).
Prediction: BUFORD. The Wolves defense will dominate against a small Tigers offense.
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BUFORD — As deep as Buford’s football program is, there’s probably a player, if not two, who will get a crack at playing in the NFL in about five years. The Wolves (2-0) have 32 seniors, about a dozen of which will be playing college football next season.
The top five in Buford’s senior class could all be playing in the Southeastern Conference next year.
The Wolves, four-time defending state champs and the top-ranked team in Class AA, have already shown how dominating they can be this season with a 42-0 win against Blessed Trinity and 49-0 last Friday against Gainesville.
“As freshmen, we could tell this group could be pretty special if they did what they were supposed to do,” Buford coach Jess Simpson said. “And so far, they’re doing a great job this year.
“But it’s still too early to tell what kind of legacy they’re going to leave.”
This week’s game against second-ranked Carver-Columbus is the latest indicator to what kind of long-term mark Buford’s seniors will make on this tradition-rich program.
Kickoff is set for 7:30 tonight at Tom Riden Stadium in Buford.
The Wolves are especially motivated to see the Tigers, the only team to defeat Buford last season.
“I really want to get them back for last season,” said Buford offensive tackle Vadal Alexander, one of the players bound for the SEC next year. “We lost that game last season because we beat ourselves and made too many mistakes.
“We definitely want revenge.”
The Tigers (1-0) are still loaded on offense, despite the graduation of current Georgia tailback Isaiah Crowell from last year’s team. Carver-Columbus is led by Marquez Holloway and Cequanti Ford at running back and Artimas Samuel at receiver.
“One aspect I like about the Buford rivalry is that Buford is going to test our abilities to prepare and compete as coaches and players,” Carver coach Dell McGee said. “Buford has such great coaches and players, and if we don’t prepare well during the week, or don’t process the game plan on Friday night, then the outcome is evident, as many teams have experienced.”
Last week, Carver-Columbus opened up with a 52-0 win against Spencer. Carver-Columbus sophomore quarterback Torrance McGee was a perfect 6 of 6 passing for 126 yards.
“Carver-Columbus is probably the best team we’re going to face in the regular season,” Buford senior Cameron Gazaway said.
The schedule doesn’t get any easier before Region 6-AA play opens as the Wolves face Yulee (Fla.) at Westminster next Friday.
“I love the competition of playing these big early games,” senior defensive back/wide receiver Ryan Dillard said. “It definitely prepares us for the rest of the season.”
Anyone who watches Buford play this season comes away with the impression that the Wolves are just so much more physically imposing than their competition. Depth, however, may be Buford’s biggest asset.
In Week 1, the Wolves gave 15 different running backs a chance to carry the football, and last week against Gainesville it was 13 backs who gained yardage. Not to be overlooked, the defensive numbers were just as spread around with 21 guys recording a tackles through two games.
“We’re truly blessed with talent on this team, and that’s something we don’t take for granted,” Gazaway said.
The only thorn in the side for Buford this season has been too many penalties: 152 yards of them to this point. That’s something the Wolves plan to clean up as the regular season goes along and the chase for five straight titles goes into full stride.
“I feel like the only team that can beat Buford at this point is Buford,” Alexander said.