Most programs that win a state title would be in for a rebuilding season; especially ones with only four returning starters. But at Buford it’s just a chance for 18 new starters to etch their names in the history of this program that has won four state titles since 2001.
Fans of the Wolves shouldn’t panic too much. Most of the new starters got ample playing experience last season as Buford ran away with the Class AA state championship.
Now it’s time to see if these new players can achieve that same Friday night success.
"The expectations never change at Buford," Wolves coach Jess Simpson said. "The bar has already been set."
Buford’s offense is anchored by its only returning starter, senior tackle and Georgia verbal commit Dallas Lee. Joining Lee on the line are Trevor Warbington, Blake Bennett, Kolton Houston, Shawn Artz and Duvon Milsap. At tight end, Buford offers a trio that will share time in Devin Durden, Colt Ours and Andrew Sachais.
Buford’s running game is in the hands of 157-pound senior running back Cody Getz and junior Storm Johnson. Getz had a productive junior season with 1,335 all-purpose yards and 12 touchdowns.
"He’s so quick and explosive, you have to see it to believe it," Simpson said.
Johnson rushed for more than seven yards per carry as a sophomore. Joining the duo are fullbacks Jessel Curry and Jake Vaverka.
Buford’s wide receiving crew includes flankers Ja’kar Bridges and Ryan Reed, and split ends Josh Rudnik and Daunte Carr.
The role of quarterback goes to senior Michael May, who completed 70 percent of his passes for 446 yards behind Twoey Hosch last season.
"Michael has a strong arm, and doesn’t get rattled," Simpson added.
Buford’s defensive line is anchored by seniors Lee, Sachais, Durden, Ours and junior A.J. Cunningham.
Landon Anderson (middle linebacker), Vaverka (weakside linebacker) and Curry (strongside linebacker) make up the starters on the linebackers unit for the Wolves.
In the secondary, the Wolves are led at safety by Carr, Jeffrey Gazaway and Getz. The cornerbacks are Bridges, Jake McCroskey and Rudnik.
Daniel Villafuerte will handle the kicking. Getz will be in charge of kick and punt return duties.
Even with a slightly adjusted Region 6-AA Buford should be the team to win the title again. The Wolves roster goes 70 deep, and should have enough talent to produce another deep playoff run, if not a state title.