If the Buford football team’s timing wasn’t quite right after their irregular schedule, you couldn’t tell it on Friday night. The Class AAAAA No. 2-ranked Wolves, with two off weeks and a cancelled game behind them, didn’t miss a beat in a 45-7 win over visiting Clarke Central at Tom Riden Stadium.
Buford (3-1, 1-0 Region 8-AAAAA) got off to a 31-0 halftime lead, ending the four-game winning streak of Clarke Central (4-2, 0-1).
The Wolves played the first two weeks and sat idle for two weeks, played again on Sept. 15 and had an off week scheduled for Sept. 22. Friday night was their second game in a five-week period, not that anyone could tell.
“What people don’t realize is when we had those off days, we trained twice as hard,” said Buford linebacker Brock Mattison. “We didn’t take a break like some other people might have. Those two or three weeks we got off were the hardest weeks of the season.”
There was nothing wrong with the Wolves on Friday, particularly on defense, where they sacked Clarke Central quarterback Jack Mangel six times. Those loses put the Clarke offense in some long and difficult second- and third-down situations.
“We wanted to put pressure on the quarterback and make him uncomfortable in the pocket,” defensive end Mick Reese said.
Clarke got a break early when it held Buford to a field goal, a 40-yarder from Hayden Olsen, on its first possession. The Clarke defense even forced Buford to go three-and-out the next time it touched the ball.
From that point, however, the Wolves scored on the next four possessions. There was a 1-yard run by Anthony Grant, which made up for a touchdown that was called back by penalty that put Buford ahead 10-0.
Buford made it 17-0 on a 4-yard keeper by quarterback Aaron McLaughlin, then went up 24-0 on a 13-yard run by Christian Turner.
Brown added his second touchdown, this one on a 7-yard run, with 3:08 left in the half, sending the Wolves to halftime with a 31-0 lead.
Clarke scored late in the third quarter. McLaughlin’s pass went over the head of his target in the backfield and intercepted just off the ground by Clarke’s Elijah Smith. Jonathan Sewell scored three plays later on a 4-yard run.
Buford tacked on two more scores. Backup quarterback Will Westmoreland connected with Matt Walton for a 6-yard touchdown pass and Xalan Taylor added a 5-yard touchdown run.