There was some speculation in high school circles that mighty Buford may be vulnerable this year.
The Wolves didn’t seem to have an all-star prospect at every position and they were moving up in classification for the third straight reclassification cycle. But after the 35-10 domination of No. 10 Loganville on Friday, it appears that rumors of the potential Buford demise were greatly exaggerated.
“The needle is still pointed up,” Buford quarterback Mic Roof said on Friday.
The Wolves are 8-1 and have won eight straight since losing to Class AAAAAAA No. 1 Roswell in the Corky Kell Classic. Friday's win ensured the Wolves of the Region 8 championship and set off a minor round of celebrations on the field.
"We've improved a lot since Week 1," Buford coach Jess Simpson said "As a coach, that's the funnest part, seeing how your team improved."
Buford has played for the state championship for the past nine years and for 14 of the last 16. This year’s team has all the makings of another contender. The Wolves have an outstanding offensive line led by West Virginia commitment Tyler Thurmond and Army commitment Dean Powell. Roof (East Caroina) has two excellent running backs in Anthony Grant and Christian Turner.
The Buford defense features linebackers T.D. Roof (Georgia Tech) and Jake Simpson (Wake Forest), defensive back K.J. Anderson and a deep group up front.
“We’ve got some great leaders on this team,” coach Jess Simpson said.
If you’re keeping score at home, Buford would open the playoffs against the No. 4 team from Region 6. The Wolves appear to be on a collision course with No. 3 Carrollton in the quarterfinals.
While Buford had little trouble on Friday, there were several impactful games:
Stockbridge nails down Region 4: The No. 2 Tigers (9-0) overcame a 14-7 halftime deficit to beat Jones County 35-14 and clinch the Region 4 championship. Backup quarterback Gabe McKensie, starting for the injured Kenderick Duncan, overcame a few early jitters and threw for a pair of touchdowns.
Arabia Mountain clinches Region 5: The No. 8 Rams (8-1) outslugged area rival Southwest DeKalb 14-7 to clinch the Region 5 championship for the first time in school history. A 60-yard touchdown run by Brandon Snowball put Arabia Mountain ahead for good and the defense withstood one final scoring threat by SWD at the end of the game.
Whitewater rolls on: Whitewater turned aside 25-14 on Friday and sends Region 3 into a three-way with Griffin and Starr's Mill. Riverdale is also in the mix with two region losses and finishes the season against Griffin.