0906NHBUF2North Hall coach Bob Christmas talks about its loss to Buford.
0906NHBUF1Buford coach Jess Simpson talks about its win over North Hall Friday at Tom Riden Stadium.
BUFORD—The similarities in Buford’s last two games played in front of the home crowd at Tom Riden Stadium are striking.
Class AA’s No. 1 ranked Wolves (2-0) followed up a 50-0 win over Lovett in the 2007 state title game, with a 45-14 win against North Hall (1-1) Friday night in Buford.
In both games the Wolves took control of the game early with a great running game, heady quarterback play and a smothering defense.
Buford’s dominance in this season’s home opener was established early. On the Wolves’ first drive of the game, they drove down and scored on a 9-yard run by senior tailback Cody Getz. The Wolves finished with five different players scoring touchdowns.
Believe it or not, Wolves coach Jess Simpson was worried about the way his team would perform in front of the home crowd after a physically grueling trip to open the season in the Texas Gridiron Classic last weekend.
"We were a tired football team," Simpson said. "As a coaching staff we worried all week after kids were going to play after having to take IVs for cramping after our game last week. We were just exhausted.
"But boy, to see them come out and play like they did in the first half, I couldn’t be prouder."
Maybe this win will do something to silence the Buford critics that said their would be a drop-off after losing the bulk of last season’s state championship squad. The Wolves did most of the damage Friday in the first half with 281 yards on offense (147 rushing, 134 passing) and two touchdowns from junior fullback Jessel Curry.
Curry’s final touchdown of the first half came on a 52-yard pass from senior quarterback Michael May. He finished the game with 116 yards of total offense (93 receiving, 25 rushing).
Buford’s senior quarterback was perfect completing 7 of 7 passes for 141 yards. Simpson says that his first-year starter has continued to get stronger and puts its offense in the right situation. May has only thrown three incompletion this season.
"He (May) has a whole lot of poise and is throwing the ball great," Simpson said.
Buford’s lived up to its expectations with a defense that gave the Trojans fits all night. Junior Kolton Houston was the headliner for the Wolves’ defensive unit with an interception off a tipped ball in the second quarter that he returned 30 yards for a touchdown. He also recovered one of four fumbles retrieved by Buford.
Buford’s defense didn’t allow a first down until early in the second quarter and only surrendered 60 yards in the first half.
"We make a big deal of trying to get three-and-outs, and we made that happen tonight," Simpson said. "So that made it a lot of fun."
North Hall finished with six turnovers on the night, but Trojans coach Bob Christmas remains optimistic that the opportunity to play against the top-ranked Wolves will pay dividends for his program down the road.
"We turned the ball over a ton of times," Christmas said. "And it kind of snowballed from there.
"But I don’t have any doubt that our kids will be able to use this game as a catalyst."
Storm Johnson also scored for Buford on a 38-yard run.
Buford’s execution extended all the way down its kicking game. Simpson said he noticed the precision of his senior kicker Daniel Villafuerte, who drilled all his extra points and added a 38-yard field goal.
North Hall’s bright spot on the night was the fourth quarter with a 20 yard touchdown run by Ben Booth, followed by a 10-yard scoring run by Peyton Wilhoite. Avery Nix (55 yards) and Wilhoite (nine carries, 50 yards) led the North Hall running game.
Buford plays host to Lovett at 7:30 p.m. next Friday. North Hall plays host to Gainesville at 7:30 p.m. on Sept. 19.