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Stingy defense sends Buford to semis

Photo: Craig Cappy Buford's Ryan Dillard (28) gains yards before being taken tackled by  Elbert County's Eric Eberhardt (42) and Tyson Dye (22) during Friday's game.

Photo: Craig Cappy Buford's Ryan Dillard (28) gains yards before being taken tackled by Elbert County's Eric Eberhardt (42) and Tyson Dye (22) during Friday's game.

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Buford vs. Elbert County highlights

Highlights from Buford's 49-13 win over Elbert County in the Class AA quarterfinals on Nov. 25, 2011.

Highlights from Buford's 49-13 win over Elbert County in the Class AA quarterfinals on Nov. 25, 2011.

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Photo: Craig Cappy Buford's Paris Head (23) makes a catch and runs up field before being brought down by Elbert County's Marquice Dye (1) during Friday's game.

BUFORD -- Elbert County quarterback Hunter Blackmon had a 10-yard run midway through the third quarter of Friday's football game.

The visiting Elbert County fans gave a loud applause as if Blackmon had just scored a game-winning touchdown.

It was far from that.

Blackmon's run was Elbert County's biggest play until that point in the game.

The excitement didn't last long, though. Buford's Donte Gordon recovered one of four Elbert County fumbles on the next play to set up another Wolves score.

It was another dominating day for the Buford defense. The defending state champions cruised to a 49-13 win over Elbert County in the quarterfinals of the Class AA state playoffs.

"We haven't faced the wing-T since '09, so for us to go out and have such good discipline the way we did, I thought we played really well," Buford head coach Jess Simpson said.

Buford (13-0) will play Carver-Columbus in the state semifinals next Friday. Buford defeated Carver 35-7 in the third game of the season.

"We beat them, but the second time is always tough," Buford defensive end Rick LeGrant said. "I'm sure they've gotten better since that game."

Buford's defense forced five turnovers against Elbert and didn't allow a first down until less than six minutes were left in the third quarter.

The Blue Devils' star running back, Tyshon Dye, who has scholarship offers from Georgia and Clemson, was shut down. The junior had more than 1,500 yards rushing going into Friday's game and was held to 39 yards.

"It was the first time we've played the wing-T. We did a good job with our assignments and it made it easy to stop them," LeGrant said. "It was just another notch in our belt and showed how great we are as a defense."

The only time Elbert County (11-2) had success moving the ball was when the Wolves held a 42-0 lead and put in its second-team defense.

"They didn't really do anything against the first-team defense," LeGrant said.

Kurt Freitag, Nathan Staub, Gordon and Robert Contreras recovered fumbles for the Wolves. Jaylen Mize had the fifth turnover when he intercepted a pass and returned it 14 yards for a touchdown to give Buford a 14-0 lead.

Andre Johnson had four-yard touchdown run and added a second TD on a 65-yard score when he knocked down a defensive back on his way to the TD. Johnson was the game's leading rusher with 87 yards.

In addition to his fumble recovery, Staub also had 82-yard touchdown catch from Sam Clay and a one-yard TD run in the third quarter to put Buford ahead 42-0.

Clay was 10 of 15 passing for 181 yards with Ryan Dillard and Paris Head each hauling in four catches each.

Dontravious Wilson and Ryan Mack added touchdown runs for Buford.

Elbert County got its only scores against Buford's second team defense when R.J. Jones scored on a five-yard run. Jones also had a 71-yard touchdown pass from Blackmon with less than two minutes in the game.