Buford QB Aaron McLaughlin looks for an open receiver. Photo credit Alicia Couch Payne
By Sean Brink
The last two weeks saw the number three ranked Buford Wolves varsity football team (11-1) defeat Jackson-ATL (10-2) 48-0 in a very one-sided game and squeak by number two ranked Stockbridge (11-1) 20-17 to advance to the state semi-final where they will get a shot at revenge against number one ranked Rome (12-0).
Entering Friday’s game, Buford and Stockbridge had seven Division 1 Scholarship players, so everyone knew it would be a great game.
Both defensive lines went into the game playing extremely well. Buford was allowing only 9.5 points per game while Stockbridge was only allowing 5.9 points.
Buford Head Football Coach John Ford knew tackling, defense, and special teams along with ball control would be pivotal for the game. Stockbridge runs the triple option which is very hard to defend and Buford came ready to play and stop the offense.
Buford has stuck to their running-back-by-committee philosophy — especially later in the season — utilizing their trio of elite backs to control time of possession and put a lot points on the board.
The combination of Buford running backs Christian Turner, Anthony Grant, and Derrian Brown have combined for over 500 rushing yards and seven touchdowns in the last two games.
Trailing Stockbridge by ten points at the break, Buford would lean on the trio using up most of the second half’s clock as they went on two season saving drives that saw Turner cross the goal line and almost immediately a Stockbridge fumble on the next possession allowed Grant to follow.
Hayden Olsen was a perfect two for two and kicked the game winning field goal from 28 yards to put the Wolves ahead for good.
Buford gets the win against Stockbridge 20-17 to advance to the semi finals. The Class AAAAA State Championship Semifinal game will be between the Buford Wolves and the Rome Wolves in a rematch of last year’s State Championship game where the Wolves fell to Rome 16-7. This time around not only will Buford be playing to advance to the State Championship, but to make avenge last year’s loss. The game will be played at Barron Stadium on the campus of Shorter College in Rome (300 W. 3rd St, Rome, GA 30165) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are available at https://gofan.co/app/school/GA4863.