Buford's Seon Jones Stiff arms GAC defender Elie Haynes Friday night for a huge gain against the struggling Spartans.
NORCROSS -- Buford will go into the state playoffs as a No. 2 seed rather than the Wolves' accustomed No. 1. That may not matter, though.
Coach Jess Simpson likes the way his team is playing and Buford's postseason position as the Wolves go for a third straight Class AA title.
Buford earned a share of the Region 6-AA title with a 45-14 victory at Greater Atlanta Christian on Friday night as junior running back Seon Jones had a coming out party at the Spartans' expense.
Jones gained 168 yards on 21 carries and would have had five touchdowns instead of three if it hadn't been for a pair of penalties. His runs of 33 and 68 yards for apparent TDs were nullified, leaving him with scores of 1, 6 and 19 yards.
"Seon's had a real good last three weeks," Simpson said. "He was injured a lot early in the season, but he's healthy now and has shown what he can do. He showed some good vision and made some nice runs."
The Wolves as a whole are starting to play up to their normal high standard at just the right time, too.
Buford has allowed just three touchdowns in the past seven games, posting five shutouts. Beaux Hebert threw a pair to touchdown passes for GAC, but was intercepted three times and sacked on seven occasions.
After eight straight undisputed region titles, No. 3-ranked Buford (9-1 overall, 7-1 region) had to share this one with Lovett and Westminster after a 28-21 loss at Lovett the third week of the season.
Lovett got the No. 1 seed from the region on a tie-breaker, with Buford the No. 2 and Westminster, No. 3. But Simpson isn't unhappy about the Wolves' potential road to another state championship at all.
"When you look at the brackets, a lot of the top teams are over there on the other side," Simpson said. "Calhoun, Fitzgerald and Charlton County are all in the other bracket.
"We'll obviously have to play some very good teams, but I don't mind missing those teams at all. Somebody else will have to play Charlton County this year."
The Wolves will face the No. 3 seed from Region 7-AA at home in the first round next Friday as they again begin a championship quest.
GAC (1-9 overall, 1-7 region) came out in black jerseys and pants on senior night and gave much bigger Buford a battle for most of the first half. But the Spartans were eventually no match for the Wolves.
David Petroni gave Buford a 24-7 lead with a 23-yard field goal early in the third quarter and then the Wolves broke the game wide open on a 65-yard pass and run from Alex Ross to Tyshawn Holley.
Buford added two more scores in the fourth quarter on a 19-yard run by Jones and backup quarterback Sam Clay's 11-yard pass to Rick Legrant.
Taylor Bruner's 31-yard TD grab on a pass from Hebert, who threw 31 times, made the final margin a little closer.
After Jones scored from a yard out in the first quarter, GAC tied it early in the second on an 11-yard TD pass from Hebert to Elie Haynes, who went high to grab the fade toss at the side of the end zone.
The deadlock didn't last long, though. Jones scored his second TD, this one from 6 yards out, to put Buford back ahead less than 3 minutes after GAC's score.
The Spartans held the Wolves after an interception by A.J. Cunningham in GAC territory, but Buford made it 21-7 with just 16 seconds remaining before intermission.
The TD came on a 4-yard toss by Alexander that was lobbed up for Sherman Page.
Ross was 7 of 13 for 120 yards and the Wolves avoided any turnovers. Herbert, pressured continuously, completed 15 of his 31 passes for 150 yards, but was intercepted three times. Cunningham, Eric Barr and C.J. Moore had the picks for Buford.