HOMER -- When Shawn Reynolds returned the opening kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, the avalanche was just beginning.
Buford went on to score on its first five possessions of the first half and added a defensive TD in the first 24 minutes en route to a 63-0 blowout win over Banks County in the Wolves' Region 7-AAA opener.
But it also proved to be a good tonic for a community dealing with some tough times recently.
"We were coming off the bye week and we were a little worried about the rust," said Buford head coach Jess Simpson. "But we've had some heartache around the school with losing one of our classmates and another former player had a terrible accident. So we've been hurting for each other and it helped to get out here and do something together."
Following Reynolds' TD and a quick three-and-out by the Buford defense, Terrance Wilson got loose on a 24-yard run for the first offensive score just 1:59 into the game.
Zavior Hoxie followed with a 5-yard run and then Dontravious Wilson bolted in from 41 yards out as Buford built a 28-0 lead eight minutes into the contest.
Dontravious Wilson finished with 129 yards on just eight carries to lead the Buford attack.
In the second quarter, Reynolds hauled in an 11-yard TD pass from Montgomery VanGorder to make it 35-0.
Buford (3-1, 1-0) then added a 12-yard scoring pass from Taylor Mitchell to Grant Hall.
Later, Terrance Wilson picked up a fumble following a bad snap on a Banks County punt and scored from eight yards out to increase the margin to 49-0 at the half.
Meanwhile, the Buford defense was completely shutting down Banks County (1-4, 0-2) as the Leopards managed just 12 total yards of offense and no first downs in the first half.
Buford came out in the third quarter and added two TDs as Steven Reece scooped up a fumble and raced 77 yards for a score and Hoxie scored on a 23-yard run to make it 63-0.
Buford preserved the shutout when Banks County drove down to the Wolves' 2 but fumbled into the end zone for a touchback with a little more than three minutes to go in the game.
The Wolves used nine different running backs and three quarterbacks in the contest while racking up 350 yards of total offense.
"We weren't satisfied with the way we played a couple of weeks ago even though we won," said Simpson. "So it felt good to have a good week of practice and then come out here and play well. We feel like we're making some strides and that's important as we hit a tougher part of our schedule. This is a good group and I think our arrow is pointing up now."