White County Warriors (7-AAA)
Coach: Bill Ballard
Record: 4-1, 2-0 region
Last week: Beat East Hall 6-0
Buford Wolves (7-AAA)
Coach: Jess Simpson
Record: 5-0, 2-0 region
Last week: Beat West Hall 63-0
Bill Ballard returns to Gwinnett County to coach for the first time since leaving Peachtree Ridge after the 2010 season. The former Lions head coach was 36-14 in four years, which included a state finals appearance, at the Suwanee school. Ballard led White County to the state playoffs a year ago and this year’s team is off to a 4-1 start. The only hiccup was a 30-0 loss to Blessed Trinity.
“They’ve got a good club. Bill always does a great job and runs a tough team,” Buford head coach Jess Simpson said. “And he’s one of those guys who usually has a hand in both the offense and defense. They’re very active on defense. They stunt and twist a lot. But probably the biggest challenge is that they run that Air Force/Georgia Tech offense. They’ll run a lot of triple option.”
Defending state champion Buford has been impressive all season. They have a convincing win over last year’s Class AAAAA state champion Gainesville and have won their last three games 63-0. Buford is on track to smash the state scoring record, but it’s not one player getting the highlights.
Running back Joshua Thomas has five rushing TDs and Missouri commitment Thomas Wilson has seven. Quarterback Taylor Mitchell has thrown seven TDs, while Montgomery VanGorder has five. Both have completed 70 percent or more of their passes.
Linebacker Korie Rogers, a Clemson commitment, has 28 tackles, two sacks and three tackles for loss this season.
Buford is on a 15-game winning streak dating back to last year and hasn’t had four straight games with a shutout since the start of the 2003 season.
Last meeting: Buford won 49-14 last year
Directions to Buford High School: I-985 north to Ga. Highway 20 exit, turn left. Turn right on Buford Highway to Robert Bell Parkway and turn left.