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Buford gets old-school, defensive victory

Photo: David McGregor                               Buford's Korie Rogers (43) and Tyler Shipman (32) flatten North Oconee's Tate Adcock during the first half of the Wolves 13-0 victory over the Titans on Friday night in Bogart.

Photo: David McGregor Buford's Korie Rogers (43) and Tyler Shipman (32) flatten North Oconee's Tate Adcock during the first half of the Wolves 13-0 victory over the Titans on Friday night in Bogart.

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Photo: David McGregor Buford quarterback Taylor Mitchell sidesteps the pass rush of North Oconee's John Bundy during the first quarter of the Wolves 13-0 victory over the Titans on Friday night.

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Photo: David McGregor Buford kicker Matthew Bonadies (99) reacts after kicking a 47 yard field goal during the first half of the Wolves' second round game against North Oconee on Friday night in Bogart.

BOGART -- In an era of high-octane offenses posting big numbers and eye-popping scores, Buford turned back the clock Friday night as the Wolves blanked North Oconee 13-0 in the second round of the Class AAA state football playoffs.

Not often does the scoreboard get such an easy night, but Buford was happy with the results as the Wolves turned to their pounding rushing attack and a defense that came up with the big plays en route to the victory.

With the win, third-ranked Buford (9-3) moves into the third round and a rematch at Carver-Columbus next Friday night.

Buford knocked off Carver-Columbus last year in the Class AA state semifinals by a 28-13 score.

Meanwhile, North Oconee's season comes to an end at 10-2 after rolling off 10 straight wins following a season-opening loss to St. Pius X.

North Oconee, ranked No. 8 in Class AAA, also came into the contest averaging nearly 40 points, but ran into a Buford defense that felt it had something to prove after allowing a season-high 27 points to Cedar Grove last week.

"It was about managing this game and knowing how to play with the lead after we got late in the (first) half," said Buford head coach Jess Simpson. "It was also about managing personnel and overcoming the injury bug. Just getting the right people together and things like working with a patched-up offensive line. But we thought if we could play good defense and special teams, plus get the lead on the road, we would be in good shape and we were."

After a scoreless first quarter and most of the second, Buford exploded for 13 points in a 3:34 span to build a 13-0 halftime lead.

Matthew Bonadies got it started with a 47-yard field goal to give Buford a 3-0 lead.

Buford's defense came up with the big play on North Oconee's next possession as Zavior Hoxie recovered Kawon Bryant's fumble to set up the Wolves at the Titans' 26.

It took Buford just four plays to score as Taylor Mitchell executed a beautiful play fake and found Mikey Bart alone in the end zone on a 20-yard pass to make it 10-0 with 2:01 left in the first half.

Buford racked up two sacks on North Oconee's next possession, forcing another punt and setting the Wolves up at the Titans' 40.

A pair of Montgomery VanGorder passes to Tre Neal pushed it down to the 25 and Bonadies connected from 42 yards out as time expired in the opening half to give Buford the 13-point lead.

North Oconee had a great opportunity to climb back in the game to begin the second half.

Quarterback Nick Colvin, who was injured last Friday in the win over Ringgold, had played briefly in North Oconee's first series of the game.

But the senior remained on the sideline throughout the rest of the first half as the Titans' offense failed to score.

So North Oconee went to Colvin to start the third quarter and the Titans marched from their own 20 down to the Buford 3 chewing up half the quarter on the drive.

But the Buford defense stiffened and turned back North Oconee on a fourth-and-two from the 4.

That would be the last time North Oconee would threaten.

In fact, North Oconee would have the ball just two more times the rest of the game and never crossed midfield.

That's because Buford maintained its solid rushing attack and did a little clock-chewing of its own.

Following the big defensive stop to begin the third quarter, Buford took over and went 56 yards in 14 plays.

The Wolves didn't score, but they killed the rest of the third quarter and got into the fourth quarter with the 13-point lead.

Buford held North Oconee to just 152 yards of total offense while the Wolves rushed for 210 yards and also got a combined passing effort of 7 of 11 for 95 yards from Mitchell and VanGorder.