BUFORD — Despite coming off a second bye in a three-week span, Buford’s well-oiled machine clearly has not collected any rust.
The third-ranked Wolves produced four one-play scoring drives in the first half Friday night and trounced Chestatee 56-0 at Tom Riden Stadium.
Martin Mangram, Joshua Blackwell and Christian Turner scored two touchdowns apiece for Buford, which tallied all of its points before halftime.
The Wolves (4-1, 2-0 Region 8-AAAA) piled up 281 rushing yards and six scores on the ground, while quarterback Mic Roof completed 4 of 5 passes for 110 yards and a touchdown.
Buford coach Jess Simpson said the Wolves were simply happy to be back on the field.
“We’re so glad we don’t have another bye week,” Simpson said with a laugh. “We’re so tired of bye weeks.
“We’ve still got a few key guys that we need to get back healthy, (but) I’m excited about our potential. If we keep the right mindset in how we prepare and we get some of those guys that I know are really good players back and playing well, it’ll be fun to see what this team can do come playoff time.”
Buford jumped out to a 14-0 lead midway through the first quarter, then put Chestatee away with three consecutive one-play scoring drives.
Brandon Marsh intercepted a pass on the second play of Chestatee’s third offensive series to set up the Buford offense at the War Eagles’ 14-yard line. Marsh then caught a pass at the line of scrimmage on first down and scampered into the end zone to boost the lead to 21-0.
“We ran a little wide receiver screen. That’s a good red zone play for us,” Simpson said.
“Brandon is a really talented baseball player who is committed to Kennessaw State, but I think he’s got as much potential in football. He’s a big long body and strong, got great ball skills. ... I think he’s just starting to find his groove.”
Following a three-and-out by Chestatee, Turner (2 carries, 93 rushing yards, 2 TDs) broke off a 22-yard touchdown run on the first play of Buford’s next series.
Mangram (3 carries, 46 rushing yards, 2 TDs) added a 36-yard touchdown run on the first play of Buford’s initial possession in the second quarter to push the lead to 35-0.
The Wolves’ offense didn’t even get the ball back following Chestatee’s next punt, as Blackwell returned the ball 47 yards for his second touchdown of the night. He also had a 35-yard touchdown midway through the first quarter.
“Joshua has been out since ... Labor Day weekend,” Simpson said. “It was good to see him back and he kind of let it rip.
“He’s a really talented young guy. When those big plays happen, it means a lot of guys in front of him are doing their jobs.”
Anthony Grant later increased Buford’s lead to 49-0 with a 5-yard touchdown run, and Turner tacked on the Wolves’ final points via a 71-yard touchdown run with 3:03 left before halftime.
The Wolves began pulling their starters before halftime, and the game featured a running clock throughout the entire second half.
Buford got its first points of the night on a 4-yard run by Mangram with 9:17 remaining in the opening quarter. That score capped a two-play, 58-yard scoring drive that included a 54-yard pass from Roof to Jake Simpson.
Chestatee (0-5, 0-2) finished with 43 yards of total offense. Quarterback Storm Yarbrough prevented the War Eagles from finishing with negative offensive yardage by completing a 49-yard pass on the final play of the game.
Buford travels to North Hall next Friday. Chestatee will host Madison County next Friday.