Staub guides Buford to blowout win

Buford's Nathan Staub (33) finds some running room before being tackled by Gainesville's Fred Payne (20) during the first half of Friday's game.

Buford's Nathan Staub (33) finds some running room before being tackled by Gainesville's Fred Payne (20) during the first half of Friday's game.


Buford's Andre' Johnson (32) picks up yardage before being taken down by Gainesville's Eli Nwefo (19) during the first half of Friday's game.


Buford's Chad Jones (35) takes down Gainesville's Deshaun Watson (4) during the first half of their game on Friday night.

— Nathan Staub hasn't received quite the preseason acclaim as some of his senior teammates.

That might change after Friday's game against Gainesville that was shown on ESPN360.

Staub intercepted a pass and added an eight-yard touchdown run in the Wolves' 49-0 win over Gainesville.

"I was part of the team and we all played well," a humble Staub said after the game. "All those guys get the credit they deserve and maybe not enough. I just wanted to help the team win."

Buford (2-0) has a talented senior class with four Division I commitments already and a handful of other high-profile players who attracted ESPN to show the game. The four-time defending Class AA state champs put on a dominating show by playing with a mercy rule running clock in the fourth quarter for the second week in a row.

The Wolves got their second shutout of the year, but nearly saw it slip away in the third quarter. Gainesville threatened to score only twice in the game. The second time was midway through the third quarter when Gainesville reached the Wolves' 2-yard line.

Linebacker Dillon Lee, an Alabama commitment, tipped Deshaun Watson's pass and Ryan Dillard intercepted it in the end zone to preserve the shutout.

"I saw the ball tipped and I was like I need to make a play," Dillard said. "We were just taking it one play at a time."

Lee led the defense with four and a half tackles, while Rick LeGrant had three tackles and half a sack with Kurt Freitag.

"These kids were dying to get a goose egg," Buford head coach Jess Simpson said. "As a defense, that's a big deal."

Darrian Smith and Andre Johnson traded carries before Johnson scored on a one-yard run to start the game. Johnson led the team in rushing with 115 yards, while Smith added 85 yards.

Gainesville threatened to score thanks to a slew of Buford penalties to reach the Wolves' 14-yard line. Buford's defense didn't allow another yard and Gainesville failed to get points out of the drive.

Johnson had a 35-yard run to set up LeGrant's 22-yard touchdown run to put the Wolves up 14-0 midway through the second quarter.

Staub picked off Watson's pass at the Wolves' 30. Buford needed just six plays thanks to a Gainesville personal foul and unsportsmanlike penalty on the same play to reach the end zone. Staub finished off the drive with an eight-yard TD run.

"He's a big time playmaker," Simpson said of Staub. "He does it on both sides of the ball."

Thomas Wilson got a big block from Joseph Lynn to spark a 45-yard punt return to the Gainesville 10. Freitag put the Wolves up 28-0 before halftime with a nine-yard catch from Sam Clay.

Buford opened the second half with two touchdowns called back before Mikey Bart tiptoed down the left sideline for a 20-yard touchdown catch from Clay to make it 35-0.

After Dillard's interception in the end zone, Buford went up 42-0 on Smith's three-yard touchdown run just before the end of the third quarter.

Kicker David Petroni, the county's top returning scorer, was 7 of 7 on PATs with six touchbacks.

Buford played with a running clock in the fourth quarter and the second-team offense chewed up more than eight minutes of clock. The Wolves went on an 88-yard drive that was finished by Deione Bledson's four-yard score.

"It was definitely a great win," Dillard said. "I'm proud of the way we played and we didn't let ESPN3 make us lose our focus."