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STATE FINALS NOTES: Buford sets state scoring record

ATLANTA — Buford’s football team became the first school in state history to score 700 points.

On Buford’s first play of the second half of the Class AAA state championship game, Thomas Wilson put the Wolves in the state record books.

Wilson had a 28-yard touchdown run to give Buford 685 points on the season and break the state’s single-season scoring record.

“It’s nice,” Wilson said. “It’s a great accomplishment to break records.”

Dublin’s 2006 state championship team held the previous record with 682 points, while Buford’s 2007 title team was No. 2 with 681 points.

Buford’s 35-19 victory over Washington County on Friday helped the Wolves add to their record. They finished the season with 707 points.

Buford came into the title game averaging 48 points a game. The Wolves needed just 11 points to break the state record. In addition to Wilson’s two touchdowns, Isaac Nauta caught a first-half touchdown, Joshua Thomas had two TD runs and kicker Matt Bonadies added five PATs.

Simpson joins elite coaching group

Buford head coach Jess Simpson has been one of Georgia’s most successful in recent years. In his ninth year as Buford’s head coach, Simpson joined some legendary company.

Friday’s state championship win over Washington County gave Simpson his sixth state crown. He’s the fourth coach in GHSA history to win six state titles.

Simpson joins a pretty legendary group that includes Valdosta’s Wright Bazemore (14 state titles), Lincoln County’s Larry Campbell (11) and Valdosta’s Nick Hyder (seven). He passed Thomas County Central’s Ed Pilcher and Carrollton’s Charlie Grisham, who won five state titles.

Moving on up

Buford only played two years in Class AAA, but it was a pretty dominant couple of years as they move up to Class AAAA next season.

The Wolves were 29-1 on the field over the last two seasons, including a pair of state championships. The lone loss came to Gainesville last year as the Red Elephants went on to win the Class AAAAA state title. Buford did have to forfeit two games it won 63-0 and 61-0 for a clerical error and using an ineligible player.

Buford will play in Class AAAA next season in Region 8-AAAA. Some of the Wolves’ toughest competition statewide will be Class AAAA finalist Carrollton and Griffin, 2012 state champ Sandy Creek, 2012 state finalist St. Pius, Marist and Cartersville.

Lone Wolf

Buford fans may have noticed that quarterback Montgomery VanGorder was the only captain to meet with his counterparts from Washington County for the pre-game coin flip.

But it wasn’t because of some sort of psychological ploy by the Buford coaching staff or some sort of symbolic reward for the senior signal caller.

It was merely a miscommunication between Simpson and GHSA officials on the pre-game schedule.

“They told me they were resetting the clock to 30 (minutes) when they started early for warm-ups, and that we’d have another five-minute period,” Simpson said. “We got back in (to the locker room), and they said, ‘No, we were wrong. You guys have to flip a coin in five minutes. We didn’t have our shoulder pads on.’ That was the fastest I’ve seen a football team get dressed in my life.”

With fellow captains Donte Gordon, Taylor Mitchell and Korie Rogers still without their shoulder pads on, VanGorder was the only one fully dressed and able to head out to the field for the coin flip.

“It was crazy,” Simpson said. “We had a miscommunication between me and the GHSA guys. It’s not a big deal. They were nice about it, but were having to (hurry).”