Buford's Dontravious Wilson
BUFORD -- A mistake on the opening kickoff put Hancock Central in an early hole and Buford on its way to getting past last week's rare home loss.
Dontravious Wilson rushed for three touchdowns off 13 carries for 138 yards, and Zavior Hoxie and Joshua Thomas also added touchdowns on the ground in Buford's 43-0 win over Hancock Central on Friday.
"It was nice to get in an early groove, get things going," said Buford quarterback Taylor Mitchell, who was 6 of 9 passing for 99 yards. "We were a little sloppy picking up unnecessary penalties, but it was good to get things going back in the second half and kind of get a turnaround from last week."
Quan Culver received the opening kickoff for Hancock Central (2-1) at the 1-yard line. He took a couple of steps back and kneeled in the end zone. He thought it would be a touchback, but the referee signaled for a safety and Buford (2-1) was up 2-0 just two seconds into the game.
After the free kick, Buford's offense went straight to business. Mitchell hit Tre' Neal (four receptions, 71 yards) and Shawn Reynolds (one catch for 15 yards) with a couple of pass completions, and Wilson took his third carry of the drive into the end zone. Matthew Bonadies put the extra point through the uprights for a 9-0 Buford lead.
Wilson scampered into the end zone for the second time after a botched punt by Hancock Central. After a 25-yard pass from Mitchell to Neal, Wilson scored on second and goal. The extra point put Buford up by 16 with almost four minutes left in the opening quarter.
Buford looked like it had another score on a 65-yard punt return by Shawn Reynolds a couple of minutes later, but a block in the back call negated the run at started the Wolves at their own 24.
But seven plays later, Hoxie ran into the end zone from 14 yards out for his first score of the night, and Buford was up 23-0 with 10:45 to go in the first half.
Penalties hurt the Wolves for the rest of the half on offense. But Bonadies connected on field goals of 34 and 39 yards, the second of which holder Will Rollins placed nicely off a low snap, and Buford was up 29-0 at the break.
"We probably played 10 guys in the first half on the O line," Buford coach Jess Simpson said. "We're still trying to get some guys healthy, we're still trying to get some young guys in there and find our best five, the best combination. It was encouraging. I thought we played pretty well for the most part."
Buford began the second half with the ball inside Hancock Central territory. Three plays later, Thomas ran 13 yards for a TD and put Buford up 36-0 at the 10:27 mark in the third.
Wilson completed the scoring on Buford's next possession with another 13-yard TD run, giving the Wolves a 43-0 lead with 4:02 to go in the third.
Buford emptied its bench as the game came to a close, getting players such as Colston Vukanovich and Avery Turner some time on offense.
Simpson said focus during the week helped him team move past the loss last week.
"(The biggest contributor to winning) was getting back on track and having a good week of practice, focusing on us and fundamentals," he said. "I thought we blocked better. We didn't have as many negative plays, we didn't have as many negative first down plays on offense."
The defense was solid for Buford, keeping Hancock Central off the board and limiting the Bulldogs to only three plays of 10 or more yards. Hancock finished with 58 yards rushing and 25 yards passing.
"Defensively, outside of one or two plays we really tackled well tonight," Simpson said. "Outside of a few penalties, I thought we started the second half with a lot of purpose and we did things right. I was pleased with that."