BUFORD — Last night’s football game at Tom Riden Stadium was a nail biter of a game featuring Archer at Buford in a clash of the titans. Archer tied the game at 21 all with 10 seconds left on the game clock leading to overtime.
During overtime play, Archer would score a touchdown first opting for the extra point bringing the score to 28-21 in favor of Archer. Buford would answer back with a touchdown of their own but instead of going for the extra point forcing another overtime, Buford Head Coach Bryant Appling would pull out a special play that only longtime Buford fans would know the significance of.
The two-point conversion play Appling used is known as a “40 Durden” to the Buford community. The play is named after Buford alumni Devin Durden, who lost his life in a tragic accident.
“Seven years and one day before this play was called Buford alumni, Devin Durden, was in a fatal accident that took his life a few days later,” said Kerri Leland, Buford City Schools Director of Communications. “His father, Lady Wolves Basketball Coach Gene Durden, sat in the press box watching the game. When that play was called, he knew that his son’s presence was still being felt in the Buford community.”
Devin Durden graduated from Buford High School in 2009. He played football for the Wolves and was part of their 2007 and 2008 State Championship teams. Devin later played football for the Air Force Academy where he would play for three seasons before deciding to enlist for active duty.
“It was an honor to be sitting with Coach Durden when the ‘40 Durden’ play was called and to learn about his son’s lasting impact on our community,” Buford City Schools Superintendent Dr. Robert Downs said. “We appreciate all the Durden family continues to do in support of our Buford Wolves.”
When the “40 Durden” play was successfully executed last night at Tom Riden Stadium as QB Jarvis Evans connected with Treyton Rank, the crowd went insane. Everyone from the players to Coach Appling to the fans in the stands ran out onto the field to celebrate.
Coach Appling said, “This play has been a part of our offensive playbook for as long as I can remember. We’ve always tagged it with a player’s name, but for the last seven years, we have used it to honor Devin Durden. We work on this play all the time for the right situation and knew that it had a chance to work here. I am really close to the Durden family and it makes that win so much better to know that Devin was smiling on us in those final seconds.”
“Our family is so happy for the football program’s huge win last night and especially for Coach App. To have the winning 2-point conversion play that won the game named after our son, Devin, was so special, and I know he was smiling down and cheering for the Buford Wolves last night,” said Coach Gene Durden. He added, “What a special blessing this was for our family during this tough time in our lives.”
Moments like these and how Buford continues to honor those that left such a lasting mark on Gloryland is part of what makes Buford so strong. It is rare to find a community like Buford. Buford is a family.
— By Alicia Couch Payne