BUFORD — Buford opened Region 8-AAAA play with a 42-10 victory over White County at home on Friday night.
It was homecoming in Buford and the Wolves (4-0, 1-0 in Region 8-AAAA) wasted no time to start the game, going 40 yards on just two plays in 33 seconds. Joshua Thomas punched it in from 8 yards out for the first score.
Buford needed just two plays on its next drive as well, as Xavier Gantt broke a 39-yard touchdown run to put the Wolves up 14-0.
The next score came when Luke Humphrey hit Evyn Cooper in the flat and Cooper did the rest for a 22-yard touchdown reception to make the score 21-0 in the first quarter. The Wolves’ had to work slightly harder that drive, going three plays for 57 yards before getting in the end zone.
After another Buford touchdown, White County (2-2, 0-1) showed some signs of life before halftime. A.J. Vandiver broke a 65-yard run down inside the 15-yard line. Buford’s defense was able to stand strong, but the Warriors were able to get on the board with a 28-yard field goal from Brett Bardenwerper as time expired, making the score 28-3 at the half.
“I was proud of these guys and I was proud of our community,” Buford Head Coach Jess Simpson said. “This is the third standing-room-only game we’ve had this year. I liked the way we executed on offense. I think we were four-for-four on scoring drives in the first half.”
The second half was more of the same.
On White County’s opening possession, it went three-and-out and were forced to punt. Buford’s Steven Reece was able to get through the line and get his fingertips on the punt and Buford took over at the Warriors’ 36-yard line.
The Warriors were held to 2-for-11 on third down, but did manage to gain 164 yards on the ground against the Wolves’ stifling defense, though 129 of those came on two separate runs of 65 and 64 yards.
“This is the first triple option team we’ve faced all year and there’s usually a learning curve when it comes to facing an offense like that,” Simpson said. “When you face the triple option, it’s all about playing your assignments and keeping eye discipline, so I think it was a great learning experience if we have to face a team like that down the road.”
The Warriors were finally able to get the ball in the end zone on the first play of the fourth quarter when Vandiver punched it from 1 yard out to make the score 35-10. Despite the score line, White County Head Coach Bill Ballard was still pleased with how his team competed.
“We were a little frazzled coming out, but I think once the guys nerves settled down we played some pretty good football,” he said. “I’m proud of our guys. We can take some confidence that we scored 10 points on them because not everyone has scored on these guys. They’re one of the great football programs in the state and I’m proud of the way our guys competed.”
Thirteen different players carried the ball for the Wolves, tallying 185 yards and five touchdowns on 31 carries. Humphrey added 93 yards and a touchdown on 5-of-7 through the air.
“Coach talks about our eyes and our discipline,” Buford running back Joshua Thomas said. “We played our heart out, the community came out here and we had a great time. We were ready to play and had a great feeling about this game.”