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HIGH SCHOOL FOOTBALL NOTES: Buford loss rare, but Simpson says Wolves will be OK

No matter how you look at it, Buford's 19-15 loss to Gainesville was very much a rarity.

It was not only the Wolves' first regulation loss -- the setback to Calhoun in last year's Class AA state title game was in overtime -- in their last 30 games dating back to a 14-0 loss at Carver-Columbus in Week 2 of the 2010 season, it was also just their fourth loss of any kind in their last 77 outings.

And, of course, it broke Buford's streak of 43 straight wins at Tom Riden Stadium, with the last one coming to Charlton County in the 2006 state quarterfinals.

But while the loss was rare, coach Jess Simpson says it won't be a shock to the system of the No. 2 (Class AAA) state-ranked Wolves (1-1) for a couple of reasons.

One is that Gainesville (1-1, ranked No. 9 in Class AAAAA) was a quality opponent.

Secondly, Buford has been here before. The Wolves suffered early-season losses in both the 2009 and 2010 campaigns and rebounded to run the table and win state titles in both years.

"This isn't uncharted territory," Simpson said. "This is a young team and an inexperienced team. So, (Friday night's loss) was great for our team. It's going to help us going into our region schedule."

Westmoreland bounces back

Despite three interceptions that led to21 Clarke Central points, Eman Westmoreland had a short memory and the Central Gwinnett coaching staff had enough confidence in the senior quarterback to put the ballinhis hands down the stretch.

Trailing 42-38 with 4:46 remaining, Westmoreland led Central on a nine-play, 63-yard drive.Westmoreland was steady onthe march downthe field, completing two passes to JustinBrownlee onthe drive and then found the end zone on a 1-yard run with 1:52 left for the game-winner.

Big step for Black Knights

Central is 2-0, which after beating a good Collins Hill team and a ClarkeCentral program with a rich history that includes state championships, is no small feat.

After going4-6 in 2011 and not having any more than four wins dating back to 2007,the Black Knights are already halfway to matching that win total in Coach Todd Wofford's third season.

Scary finish

Up 21-0 early in the fourth quarter, Collins Hill looked to be in complete control Friday night at Dacula, but the hosts stormed back with 22 straight points to take a 22-21 lead with 15 seconds left.

Collins Hill, with the aid of a roughing the passer penalty, managed to get within field-goal range, though, and Mitchell Blanchard's 50-yard field goal with no time on the clock rescued the Eagles, who could have sealed the game earlier.

"We had opportunities to put the game away and when you get a chance against a team with a winning tradition like Dacula, you have to do it," Collins Hill head coach Kevin Reach said. "We dodged a bullet at the end but it never should have gotten to that point."

Cox, Falcons come back

After a 35-0 season-opening loss to Mill Creek, Dacula was blanked for three quarters Friday night by Collins Hill. But when the Falcons finally broke through with the season's first points, it opened a flood of fourth-quarter scoring.

They scored 22 straight points against Collins Hill to take a 22-21 lead with 15 seconds remaining, only to lose it on an Eagle game-winning field goal moments later.

Despite the loss, Dacula head coach Jared Zito was pleased with the character his team showed in its comeback.

"The biggest thing is we started laying it on the line (in the fourth quarter)," Zito said. "It takes every bit of your heart and soul to play this game and that was the difference, just playing hard."

Marcus Cox played the biggest role in the fourth-quarter comeback, scoring on a 37-yard pass from Brandon Goodson and adding a 5-yard TD run with 8:00 left to close the gap to 17-14.

Goodson hit Josh Lovin on a 19-yard, fourth-down TD pass with 15 seconds left and Zito elected to go for two. In a wildcat formation, Cox took the direct snap and met a wall of Eagle defenders, but powered his way through the entire pack for the go-ahead conversion.

Cox finished with 211 rushing yards on 25 carries.

"Marcus, for the first time this year, played like a senior returning starter at running back should play," Zito said. "At crunch time, he wanted the ball and that's the way it should be. When we went for two, it took second and third effort for him to get in there. More than anything else he did in the game, that play showed what he's made of."

Broncos' Cole says knee is fine

Shortly after scoring three touchdowns in Brookwood's 31-21 victory over Mill Creek, Jamaal Cole sat on the table in the Broncos' training room.

As he removed a brace on his left knee, Cole showed no signs of the knee bothering him.

"I'm fine," Cole said. "I'll be 100 percent."

The brace was more of a precaution after Cole tweaked his knee earlier in the game. You never would have noticed with his 89-yard, three TD performance.

With Cole hurt, that gave way to back up running back Josh Brown to carry the load. The junior had 225 yards rushing on 22 carries.

"I told Josh because I was hurt he would have to lead us and he did," Cole said.

Brown got the Broncos inside 10-yard line twice with long runs in the fourth quarter. That set up short up TD scores by Cole.

Cole wasn't the only running back that was hurt in Friday's game. Mill Creek's Jacorey Lewis was injured midway through the third quarter.

He scored on a one-yard run, but never played again. Lewis finished with 170 yards rushing a week after rushing for 215 against Mill Creek. His status for next week's game against Mountain View was unknown after Friday's game.

Campbell's difference shows

Duluth's Myles Campbell sat out the first half Friday against South Gwinnett for disciplinary reasons and his absence resonated.

The Wildcats' athletic playmaker returned in the second half and so did the offensive production -- from all players.

On his first touch, Campbell ripped off a 55-yard touchdown run and just being on the field made a difference. Duluth had just 82 first-half yards against South, but with Campbell back on the field, that turned into 156 yards in the second half and twice as many points.

Norcross ready for extra off day

After opening with two games in six days and beating South Gwinnett and Parkview, head coach Keith Maloof made it clear Thursday that there would be no practice Friday after school.

At 2-0 his team earned the day off and no one more so than running back Alvin Kamara.

The Blue Devils' standout runner sprained his ankle against Parkview and despite his best efforts to return, ended the game wiht just 25 yards on 11 carries. He carried the ball once in the second half and fumbled twice.

"We've X-rayed it and it's nothing, just a high ankle sprain," Maloof said. "We'll test it this weekend. He wanted to go back out there. He'll be all right."

Spartans' D crucial in third quarter

Kyle Scales was the big offensive weapon for GAC on Friday, but the defense caused an important turnover and stopped Apalachee twice in the third quarter to allow the Spartans to build a big lead.

David Elrod recovered a fumble at the Apalachee 20 just nine minutes into the second half when the game was tied at 7-7. The Spartans took their first lead a couple of minutes later.

Apalachee's offense came back on the field down seven, and GAC's defense forced a three-and-out. After the Spartans took a 21-7 lead, their defense held the Wildcats again, stopping Clint Ashe on a quarterback sneak at Apalachee's 37 with 4:09 to go in the third.

Brandon Holzgrefe kicked a 27-yard field goal after the turnover on downs for a 24-7 lead, and GAC held on for its third win of the season.-- Sports editor Will Hammock, staff writers Brandon Brigman, Ben Beitzel and David Friedlander and staff correspondent Steve Argo contributed to this report.