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Buford opens title defense with whipping of Elbert

Buford running back David Curry (22) puts his team in scoring position during the first quarter of Friday’s game against Elbert County. (Photo: Lily McGregor)

Buford running back David Curry (22) puts his team in scoring position during the first quarter of Friday’s game against Elbert County. (Photo: Lily McGregor)

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Buford’s Steven Reese (5) and Tyler Shipman (32) make the stop during the second half against Elbert County on Friday. The Wolves didn’t allow any points for the night. (Photo: Lily McGregor)

BUFORD — Buford began defense of last year’s Class AAA state championship with a sound 46-7 win over Elbert County on Friday night.

The Wolves displayed a dominating ground game combined with a strong defensive effort to defeat the visiting Blue Devils.

“This was a great opening game for us,” said Buford head coach Jess Simpson said. “They played us tough last year in a hard-fought, 14-3 win, so we knew we had to be focused coming into this game. The offense took control and the defense really stepped it up after their first drive”.

Buford opened the scoring when Joshua Thomas ran 14 yards to score the game’s first touchdown. The scoring drive covered 66 yards in only six plays, making the score 7-0 at the 6:45 mark of the first quarter.

Following a strong defensive effort and a short punt, the Wolves began their next series on the Blue Devil 46. Donte’ Gordon finished a four-play scoring drive with a 5-yard TD run and made the score 14-0 with 3:34 remaining in the second quarter.

The Wolves’ defense once again provided the offense with another great scoring opportunity and Thomas Wilson added to the score with a 6-yard TD run to cap a three-play drive. The score gave the Wolves a 21-0 lead with 10:29 left in the second quarter.

Buford added a defensive safety and a 29-yard field goal by Matthew Bonadies to close out the first-half scoring.

The Wolves were on the board again early following halftime as Issac Nauta scored on a 15-yard pass from quarterback Taylor Mitchell. The score completed an eight-play drive with 7:57 remaining in the third quarter.

Buford wasted no time in next possession as quarterback Montgomery VanGorder connected with Steven Reese on a 44-yard TD pass to make the score 40-0 at the 5:47 mark of the third quarter.

Evyn Cooper closed out the Buford scoring with a 52 yard TD run making the score 46-0 with only 36 seconds left in the third quarter.

Elbert County broke into the scoring column when Rantious Reed scampered 20 yards for the Blue Devils’ only touchdown with 9:20 remaining in the game.

“We have a really tough game next week with Gainesville, but to our kids credit and the community no one has even mentioned the Gainesville game,” Simpson said.

ELBERT COUNTY 0 . 0 . 0 . 7. — 7

BUFORD 14 . 12 . 20 . 0 . — 46

FIRST QUARTER

Buford: Joshua Thomas 14 run (Matthew Bonadies kick) 6:45

Buford: Donte’ Gordon 5 run (Bonadies kick) 3:34

SECOND QUARTER

Buford: Thomas Wilson 6 run (Bonadies kick) 10.29

Buford: Safety, 8:32

Buford: Bonadies 29 FG, 0:11

THIRD QUARTER

Buford: Issac Nauta 15 pass from Taylor Mitchell (Bonadies kick) 7:57

Buford: Steven Reese 44 pass from Montgomery Van Gorder (Bonadies kick) 5:47

Buford: Evyn Cooper 52 run(kick failed) 0:36

FOURTH QUARTER

Elbert County: Rantious Reed 20 run (Cross York kick) 9:20