1115bufordAUDBuford running backs Cody Getz and Storm Johnson discuss their performances against Heard County on Friday.
1115simpsonAUDBuford coach Jess Simpson discuess the Wolves' 56-21 playoff win against Heard County on Friday
BUFORD -- On a night where a thick fog hovered over the field and made viewing a football game difficult, one thing remained crystal clear: The Buford High football team is ready to make a run for a second straight championship.
The Class AA defending champion Wolves opened the 2008 state playoffs with a 56-21 win over Heard County on Friday at Tom Riden Stadium.
The Wolves dominated Region 5-AA's No. 4-seeded Braves with a stellar running game that picked up 315 yards and scored every touchdown for the Wolves.
With such impressive numbers, Buford coach Jess Simpson believes his team has the momentum it needs to pick another win it plays host to North Oconee next Friday.
"Our biggest thing this week was to learn to build on momentum and it seems like we did tonight," Jess Simpson said. "A lot of it is how your team feels, and if were playing our best football of the year we'll see results."
But Heard County (6-5) didn't go down without a fight. The Braves earned 310 yards on offense, mostly running. All three of their touchdowns were scored by quarterback Santez Emory, who used the sidelines as his preferred path and rushed for 124 yards on 29 carries.
"That's part of dealing with the option," Simpson said. "We have to play assignment football, and they gave us different sets."
The Wolves weren't without outstanding individuals of their own. Senior running back Cody Getz rushed for 136 yards and scored two touchdowns on nine carries. Storm Johnson added a touchdown and 52 yards.
"We did exactly what we wanted to do tonight," Getz said. "They have a great scheme, but our line did a great job at helping us out."
Getz also was responsible for kick-starting the Buford offense on its first drive with a 6-yard touchdown run, followed by Storm Johnson's 39-yard run on the Wolves' next drive for an early 14-0 lead.
Shaking off a rough start, Heard County put together its first successful drive of the night midway through the second quarter. After the Braves recovered a Buford on the Wolves' 29, it only took two first downs and trio of runs by Emory before he broke into the end zone with a 6-yard carry.
It was only 16 seconds later that Buford regained a two-touchdown lead. On the ensuing kickoff, Johnson battled through several Heard County defenders to score an 82-yard touchdown.
"That probably took a little wind out of their sails," Simpson said. "It's always nice to answer."
Led by Getz's 19 and 37-yard runs, the Wolves marched up the field on their next drive, ending with Landon Anderson's 2-yard dive to give Buford a 28-7 lead.
Getz concluded the half on a positive note, scoring on 44-yard run right before halftime and stretching the Wolves' lead to four touchdowns.
Buford started mostly younger players for the rest of the game, but the momentum earned late in the second half carried into the third quarter. Eric Barr scored a 7-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to give a 49-7 lead, the biggest lead of the night.
Heard County also had a late surge late in the third quarter and early in the fourth quarter when Emory scored two rushing touchdowns early in the fourth quarter. The Braves also recovered an onside kick and a Buford fumbled to maintain possession in the closing minutes of the game.
The Wolves still scored the final tally with two minutes left in the game when Barr scored his second touchdown of the night. Taking all of his carries in the second half, the sophomore rushed for 58 yards on six carries.