Buford’s Xavier Gantt (15) runs through the East Hall defense on his way to a touchdown in Buford on Friday. (Photo: Lily McGregor)
BUFORD — Any concerns that Buford might be looking ahead to a Region 7-AAA championship-deciding matchup with North Hall next week were dismissed as the Wolves destroyed East Hall 70-6 on senior night.
East Hall (4-5, 1-5 Region 7-AAA) came into the game averaging 32 points a game but the Buford defense shut down the high-powered attack only allowing one touchdown in the fourth quarter after the game was well in hand for the Wolves (9-0, 6-0 Region 7-AAA).
“This is a great group of seniors so I wasn’t worried about them looking ahead or not being ready to play,” said Buford head coach Jess Simpson. “We’ve been playing good on defense and forcing a lot of three and outs but haven’t been able to get the turnovers like we would want to and tonight we were able to do that a few times so that was good.”
The Wolves didn’t just force the turnovers but were able to score on two of them. Joshua Thomas scored a rushing TD in the first quarter to give Buford a 7-0 lead at the end of the first quarter but on the Vikings’ first possession of the second quarter, Thomas scooped up a fumble by Edward Vergara and returned it 29 yards for the score. Then in the third quarter, Tre’ Neal picked off Devin Watson and took it 20 yards for the score. Matthew Bonadies’ PAT made it 49-0 with 7:31 to play in the quarter.
After that it became the Evyn Cooper show. Most of the starters had seen their night come to an end as many players were getting an opportunity to play but Cooper took full advantage of his chance rushing for 131 yards on three carries and two TDs of 63 and 66 yards.
Taylor Mitchell and Montgomery VanGorder combined for an efficient night through the air throwing for a total of 136 yards and one TD.
Despite a number of penalties for the Wolves they were able to move the ball consistently and as usual dominated with their ground game rushing for a total of 257 yards and seven TDs.
“It wasn’t perfect but that’s football.” said Simpson. “But there sure was a lot of good out here tonight and a lot to build on. We’re certainly excited about a chance to go 10-0 and win a region championship next week.”
Simpson and the Wolves will have that opportunity as they travel to North Hall with the winner walking away with that championship.
“It’s going to be huge.” said Simpson. “North Hall has a great program.They have a brand of football and we have a brand of football so you kind of know what to expect so it’s just a battle of wills and it will be a great atmosphere.”
BUFORD 70, EAST HALL 6
East Hall 0 0 0 6 - 6
Buford 7 28 28 7 - 70
Buford: Joshua Thomas 6 run (Matthew Bonadies kick) 3:27
Buford: David Curry 15 pass from Montgomery VanGorder (Bonadies kick) 11:56
Buford: Thomas 29 fumble return (Bonadies kick) 10:53
Buford: Donte’ Gordon 13 run (Bonadies kick) 6:16
Buford: Jordan Perlotte 5 run (Bonadies kick) 4:02
Buford: Thomas Wilson 2 run (Bonadies kick) 8:10
Buford: Tre’ neal 20 interception return (Bonadies kick) 7:31
Buford: Evyn Cooper 63 run (Bonadies kick) 6:00
Buford: Xavier Gantt 19 run (Bonadies kick) 2:24
East Hall: Milton Whelchel 39 pass from Devin Watson (kick failed) 11:15
Buford: Cooper 66 run (Jarett Burgos kick) 10:31