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Hancock Central at Buford preview

Ryan Coleman

Ryan Coleman

Hancock Central Bulldogs (7-A)

Coach: Zachary Harris

Record: 2-0

Last week: Beat East Laurens 38-6

Buford Wolves (7-AAA)

Coach: Jess Simpson

Record: 2-0

Last week: Beat Gainesville 38-14

The Wolves are coming off a huge high, last Friday’s beatdown of Class AAAAA No. 1 and defending state champion Gainesville. It was quite an accomplishment, made more satisfying because the Red Elephants had beaten Buford in 2012. That it came in dominating fashion only made it sweeter.

“It was a huge win for us,” coach Jess Simpson said. “Over the past year, this bunch of kids wanted to get that taste (of losing to Gainesville) out of their mouth. They got that mini-goal. Now we’re moving forward.”

That was the goal this week in Buford — moving on. The victory over Gainesville, powered by domination on the offensive and defensive lines, was impressive, but it wasn’t perfect, Simpson said.

“We played pretty good, but you know how coaches are,” he said. “When you watch film, there’s some bad football on film, too. That’s what we’re working on this week. You’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad as you think you are.”

Offensively, running back Joshua Thomas (14 rushes, 141 yards) was a major beneficiary of his team’s offensive line play. Nick Polino and Shane Robinson led the way on the offensive front, combining for 29 knockdown blocks. Linebacker Ryan Coleman (six tackles, two quarterback pressures, one sack, one pass breakup) played inspired defense alongside fellow linebackers Korie Rogers and Deion King. Donte Gordon, Shug Frazier and Isaac Nauta also stood out up front.

Last meeting: Buford won 43-0 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.