Georgia High School Football Spring Preview AJC 30 In 30 Series: Buford Wolves

Will Buford coach Jess Simpson be celebrating No. 4 this year? (AJC)

Will Buford coach Jess Simpson be celebrating No. 4 this year? (AJC)

(This is part of the AJC’s “30 in 30″ series — with quick hits on top high school football teams across the metro area and state during spring football practice. We’re doing 30 football teams in 30 days. Click here for a master list. Hey AJC, what about spring sports? You know, the non-football sports? Go here)

State championships are always a topic at Buford, which kicked off spring practice on Tuesday.

The Wolves have won three Class AA championships in a row.  Last year’s was perhaps the most fulfilling, as Buford won a  rematch against Calhoun (13-10),  holding the state’s No. 1-rated prospect Da’Rick Rogers to 69 yards on 10 catches.

Why does Buford have a chance to win a fourth consecutive title? Four starters return in the offensive backfield, including QB Alex Ross and running backs Eric Barr and Seon Jones. The defense welcomes back its entire secondary, including Ryan Dillard, C.J. Moore, Jamal English, Paris Head and Eric Barr.

Most importantly, the Wolves return coach Jess Simpson, who has directed the current dynasty — the second stretch of three consecutive championships.

“We are talking about our process [of competing for the state championship] and the work we need to get done,” Simpson said. “We don’t ever talk about last year.”

YOU make the prediction: Which fellow Class AA team will threaten to end Buford’s streak this year? Please list your team below and state your case.

Team: Buford Wolves

Spring practice dates: May 4-18

Last year’s record: 14-1

Starters lost: 12

Head coach: Jess Simpson

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87 comments Add your comment


May 5th, 2010
7:16 am

Shhhhh…..the Wolves don’t know, but GAC is coming!! By the time we play each other at Spartan Stadium on 10/22/10, they will know!!

Cam Owens

May 5th, 2010
8:22 am

Lovett! The Lions defeated Buford last season to end the Wolves incredible winning streak within the region dating back to 2001, I believe. Had Lovett’s Stadium met the seating requirements for the State Playoffs last year, Lovett would almost without doubt, be the reigning State Champions. Despite being seeded higher than its’ opponents, Lovett had to travel to each of its’ last two playoff opponents’ home fields, finally losing to Calhoun in the semi-finals by a single score, a huge disadvantage not playing at home, even though they had earned the right to do so. Zach Boden, whose name we never see in print, yet whose stats and ability are as good as anyone playing, will again be the determining factor in Lovett’s success next year.


May 5th, 2010
8:44 am

Carver with their All Americans will be a final 4 team, as well as Fitzgerald. Westminster is also loaded. One thing about the GAC Spartans, they have to be better than they were last year, but will probably be the 4 seed in Region 6. Lovett always reloads, but lost a lot. You would think with all of the money at Lovett they could put in some more stands or build another stadium. The fact you had to play on the road was your fault, no sympathy here. Lovett would have won the State Championship without a doubt? Last year’s Buford team was the youngest it has fielded this decade and got better each game. Buford held Calhoun to 1 touchdown. Didn’t they put up 45 against Lovett? Payback is a you know what.

Gwinnett Fan

May 5th, 2010
9:20 am

Buford has the best coaching staff in AA football. As long as that does not change they will always be a favoite to repeat as state champions. Their players are good but their coaching staff is even better.

Old Cane

May 5th, 2010
10:04 am

Canes won’t lose fumble in closing drive next season….the big, bad Wolves escaped with a win by the hair of their chinny, chin, chins!!


May 5th, 2010
10:21 am

Buford will reign once again as the KING OF AA. You can say what you want, Lovett, if this and if that, but great teams over come the adversity. We were on the road during the playoffs too. Had some tough games, but found a way to win, which is what we will do again this year.


May 5th, 2010
11:09 am

carver columbus has a good shot at winning it all.should’ve won it last year in 3A.only concern is at qb.carver will be bracking in a new qb,but should still win on they back of the best rb in the country I.Crowell.


May 5th, 2010
11:48 am

I would like to know how such a small area can win sooooo many championships ? Aren’t they suppose to only draw kids within the city limits of Buford, and the last time I looked, Buford’s population was not in the 100,000’s to have soooo many athletes. What’s the story ?

Michael Carvell

May 5th, 2010
12:28 pm

Buford has good coaching, good coaching stability, and super feeder programs.


May 5th, 2010
12:36 pm

so…when are you doing something on a real program that plays other real programs? Buford hides in AA and never loses, why don’t they try to play a real team and see what happens? Here’s an idea, we can get all the girls from Brookwood, Lowndes, Parkview, Valdosta, Camden and Warner Robins together and they can put on some pads and play Buford. Then we’ll see how their records look. Buford…really?


May 5th, 2010
1:55 pm

Not so fast Buford, It’s a new kid on the block called Carver!!! Come Sept 3,2010 Buford will have a long night in Columbus,Ga. The Glory Days are over!!!!!

Stinging Jacket

May 5th, 2010
2:27 pm

Hey Cam Owens, were you at the semi-final game at Calhoun? Yeah, Lovett might have lost by one touchdown but from the middle of the second quarter to the last seconds Calhoun was completely in charge. Most of the time they held a 21 point advantage. Do you remember how much time was left when Lovett scored their last touchdown to make it a 7 point game? 0, yeah that’s right, Lovett snapped it as time expired and scored on second teamers. Not to mention the fact that Calhoun was in a prevent defense the last 8 minutes of the game. Lovett was a really good team, and yeah, they beat Buford, but they were not the first or second best team in the state last year. Sometimes a team can actually get worse or plateau over the course of a season while others can be 10 times better in December than they were in September. That would be the case with Lovett and Buford, with Buford being the team that got better rather than staying the same.

As for Lovett “earning” homefield advantage in the semi-finals, I guess you can call it that if a coin flip counts. Calhoun and Lovett were both one seeds, Lovett won the coin toss but they have a terrible stadium, flooded or not. I played there when I was in high school, there’s no two ways about it, the stadium sucks. And since when does homefield advantage make up for two to three touchdowns? I don’t think the game would have been much different had it been at Lovett.


May 5th, 2010
2:32 pm

Look for Buford to be really tough this year. Last year was the year to take them down. Buford has a couple of really big lineman that transferred in this year. One is from Alabama and the other from Texas. They each have to be at least 6′5″ and 300 lbs.


May 5th, 2010
3:17 pm

Hey really. Buford plays up all the time. We play AAA and sometimes AAAA teams on a regular basis to fill out our schedule because nobody wants to play us. North Gwinnett will not play us. The larger classification teams want no part of Buford because we are physical on both sides of the ball. We have traveled to Ohio and Texas in the last 4 years and thumped quality teams. You will not see a better prepared or fundamentally sound defense anywhere in Georgia. Buford will do what they always do. Line up pound the rock and dare somebody to stop it. Then go play action and burn you with short controlled passing. Nothing fancy, just a disciplined well coached team of overachievers. No primadonnas in BTown. Ask Storm Johnson.


May 5th, 2010
3:21 pm

Well, you know its football season once again, here come the haters.

There are quite a few teams that could beat Buford this year. Looking at our schedule, I see Gainesville, Carver, Lovett, Westminster, and maybe even GAC. I know that we CAN beat all of those teams, but whether we will or not is something we’ll find out soon enough.

To the Lovett poster, Lovett wouldn’t have won AA last year. If they would have played Buford again, I highly doubt that Buford would have lost to them again. Buford grew tremendously after the Lovett game, and the score may not have even been close. Calhoun DESTROYED Lovett up until the last few seconds of the game where Lovett was scoring against second team players and Calhoun wasn’t even trying. The only team in the last 10 years or so that has beaten Buford twice in one season was Commerce back in 2000. Do you remember what happened the last time Buford played Lovett twice in one season?

To the Carver poster, one man doesn’t make a team. Crowell is a great back, but you’ll see soon enough that Buford is much better than people from Carver are giving credit.

All winners must be cheaters

May 5th, 2010
3:48 pm

KD 11:48…..I would like to know how such a small area can win sooooo many championships ? Aren’t they suppose to only draw kids within the city limits of Buford, and the last time I looked, Buford’s population was not in the 100,000’s to have soooo many athletes. What’s the story ?

Its AA football all the schools have a simular population they draw from numbtard. I don’t even like Buford but, what I hate even more is people that always blam their falures on other people cheating.

All winners must be cheaters

May 5th, 2010
3:56 pm

You see what happens when a parent realizes that there son is a very gifted athlete they make the decision to move there kid out of the school district with the bad Football program and find a program that is successful at coaching there sons up and getting them into college. To do this what you do is sell your home that is in another school district or rent it out. Then buy another home or rent a home for 5 or 6 years while your son goes to Buford. If that’s recruiting then every School that has ever had any longevity at winning has recruited. And if that’s recruiting then YES Buford recruits.


May 5th, 2010
3:57 pm

buford83 why would a team with the last 3 state championships be even concerned about Carver?
Every body knows Buford is the greatest thing to happen in Georgia since Jimmy Carter. But since we are on the Carver subject, I think you’ll find they have a way of turning out more than 1 Div 1 prospect every year themselves.


May 5th, 2010
3:59 pm

And if that’s recruiting then YES Buford cheats/but legally of course.

BullDawg Rick

May 5th, 2010
4:25 pm

Buford runs this state!!


May 5th, 2010
4:38 pm

All I’m saying is that when you a city school, the well has to run dry sooner or later. You will have to have some down years, but with Buford it never happens.


May 5th, 2010
5:43 pm

They’re not a “city” school. It’s a “City” school by account of it being within the city limits of Buford and it’s the only school as apart of their system. There’s nothing “city” about Buford? Have you been to that place? It’s a small town of 10,000 people. The school only has 800 students. If Buford was placed hmmm, let’s say where Douglas,GA is loacted. NOT DOUGLASVILLE. And they were the only school within the city of Douglas. They’ll have just over 10,000 people. The school would have 800-850 students. Would there be a difference then? I know there maybe a few parents that allow their children to go to Buford to play football from outside the system, but they have to pay taxes for the city and I know there are a few that probably don’t. But above all, I’m sure that really hasn’t affected this run that Buford has had since 2000. Just good coaching, great feeder system, a system that I even may envy as a volunteer coach at Atlanta’s Douglass High.


May 5th, 2010
6:07 pm

can we get a list of the schools you will be covering during the 30 in 30? Also have you or will you be covering North Gwinnett.


May 5th, 2010
7:22 pm


cith slicker

May 5th, 2010
8:02 pm



May 5th, 2010
8:14 pm

Buford did not have move in’s from Alabama and Texas. they had a RB move in from Cherokee County i believe because his brother played at Buford last year and just moved down. it actually is a city school. and avondale and decatur………..ha


May 5th, 2010
8:46 pm

Yo, I never said that Carver only has 1 D-1 prospect. They’re a loaded team with a lot of talent. But, all of the talk seems to be about their all world player Isiah Crowell, and that’s the reason why I say that one man doesn’t make a team. Carver is a very talented team, and despite the number of championships we have, any given day, anything can happen.


May 5th, 2010
8:47 pm

Buford will be just fine against Carver. Like I said, if the Tigers rely on Crowell too much, we’ll send them packing pretty easily. Carver fans like to think they’re the new sheriff in town, but we’ll show them that they’re just another team come the 3rd of September.


May 5th, 2010
10:02 pm

Hart County….mark it down…..could be in the dome come December :)


May 5th, 2010
10:30 pm

There is no way GAC will stand a chance again Buford!!! Everyone knows that!


May 5th, 2010
11:13 pm

Enter your comments here


May 5th, 2010
11:14 pm

At least GAC discarded that great coach who seemed to be
more interested in “P C” multi-culturalism instead of winning
football games. That, in and of itself, is a “W” and gets them
off to a good start for 2010.
Long way to go to beat Buford, however, but going back to
the playoffs is a good bet.


May 5th, 2010
11:15 pm

somebody needs to ask jess simpson about his season at east paulding in 1997. 0-10


May 5th, 2010
11:19 pm

Ask Buford who beat them 3 times in a row. Charlton County. The smallest team in AA and have moved to class A where they belong.


May 6th, 2010
12:20 am

Buford Nation, What you guys fail to see,that Carver is not a one man show. Your AVG AA team are one man shows like D.Rodgers -Calhoun or Q.Bray -Calloway both are great players but the rest of the team is AVG. Not the case at Carver-Col. Team speed at every position. Carver has a great OL with D-1 talent, DL is ran by the best DT in the state Gabe Wright, DB are ran by the best JR in the state CB Deion Bonner. Does that sound like a one man team? Isaiah Crowell is just the iceing on the cake.

it's buford football

May 6th, 2010
8:32 am

I love the smack talk this early in the season. I won’t take time to respond to the recruiting haters as that doesn’t warrant a response, it’s just a tired argument. Calhoun is no different than Buford or any of the other small schools around GA who benefit from being a city school.

BTW, we will play anyone who wants to sign up and have never avoided any 5A, 4A or 3A school that would schedule us. I think this years scrimmage and first two games prove that. Calrke Central, Gainesville, and Carver respectively.

The team is young, but with our coaches, I have no doubt we will be in the mix at the end. Will we go undefeated, hard to say as many of our region teams have lots of returning starters.


May 6th, 2010
8:55 am

Good post bILL wALTERS. I was wondering if anyone would mention Charlton County.


May 6th, 2010
9:28 am

Therrell High as been brewing for the last two years Caoch Rambo and company have some guys. They an Outstanding Athlete in Karnorris Benson his stats just jump out at you 60REC. 875 REC YARDS AND 7 TD`S ,7INT. HE HIS 6`2 195. Riley Lindley is a freak of nature 6`2 225 and run a 4.5 40.WATCH OUT FOT THOSE PANTHERS

Ted Haggard

May 6th, 2010
10:04 am

BW and Saldrid,

Which fellow Class AA team will threaten to end Buford’s streak this year? By the way, it was only a massage.

Buford Alum

May 6th, 2010
10:56 am

“somebody needs to ask jess simpson about his season at east paulding in 1997. 0-10″

Check your facts, kid. Jess Simpson was at Buford in 1997 working under the legendary Dexter Wood. I should know…in 1996, I was a senior at Buford and had Jess Simpson as my econ teacher.


May 6th, 2010
11:50 am

Here are the facts – Jess Simpson is 68-13 as a head coach. He has lost 3 games in 5 years at Buford. The other 10 losses are during his one season at East Paulding in 1997. That would have been the school year of 1997-98. At Buford he lost to Lovett in 2009 and to Charlton County in 2005 and 2006. A very impressive 68-3 record at Buford or anywhere for that matter.


May 6th, 2010
12:45 pm

Well how about buford make the 5 hour trip to CAMDEN COUNTY, and we will see how good of a power house they would be than!!!! when they start palying AAAAA teams and beat them, than Buford will get my respect!!! intill than they can beat up on the AA schools and than take pride about it!!! GO CAMDEN WILDCATS!!!!!


May 6th, 2010
1:08 pm

EMDog, let me know when Buford lines up against a real team this year, like a Gwinnett Powerhouse like Parkview or Brookwood or Norcross, I am pretty sure the wolves would be hiding. Halirious that you honestly tried to back up your comments. Do you still hit of a Tee in your men’s softball league too?

Chan Gailey

May 6th, 2010
2:22 pm

The only difference between the larger schools and Buford is they have more players. They don’t have better players, just more. Buford would beat most if not all of the teams in Gwinnett.

Jeff Herron

May 6th, 2010
2:33 pm

We don’t want no part of Buford.


May 6th, 2010
3:54 pm

The larger schools will NOT play us. They have everything to lose, and nothing to gain. We’ve tried scheduling them with no success. Too bad we can’t get a home and home against North anymore. With two quality programs about 7 miles apart the dollars from the gate would help both teams.


May 6th, 2010
4:29 pm



May 6th, 2010
4:41 pm

Greetings Chan Gailey,

I agree with you 100 %. Camden county is a Larger School
with more players. However; Lets say Buford has 55 players they dress out and out of the 55 players, 22 players are outstanding players. Camden may dress out 110 players and out of the 110 amount of players, Camden County may have 55 playes that outstanding. Camden County has the ability to substitute in and out fresh players that could wear a team down. other than that, no excuses. The wins comes from great coaching and great execution from the players on the team. Agree?


May 6th, 2010
5:14 pm

Stinging Jacket – First off, Lovett has a FANTASTIC home stadium. One of the best in the state. The setting (along the Chattahochee River) is as picturesque and unique as any in the state. And for the record, although Lovett is blessed with a large endowment, money has nothing to do with the seating. The can not add any more seats (or concrete, really) beside the riverbank because of environmental legislation. Also, the feild is consistanltly kept in fantastic shape. And last years flood will only make it better because of the new state of the art surface they put down.
Secondly, Lovettt may have the best coaching staff in the state. Noone does more with less talent than that coaching staff (granted, last year was their most talented team in years).
Lastly, although Calhoun def. pulled away after the punt block in the late 3rd Qtr.. the game was very much a back and forth contest through the first 2.5 quaters. And Zach Boden was the best player on the field that night.

PS – dont get me started on the new baseball complex they are building.. its gonna be SSIICCCK!
PSS – speaking of baseball.. can anyone tell me who the defending state champ is?

Go Lions,
Tyler Caswell
defending his beloved Lions from NYC

Stinging Jacket

May 7th, 2010
10:26 am

Kramers, Lovett is indeed picturesque and a cool place to play, but not for a semi-final game. When I played there, the whole team couldn’t even dress out together. I understand the legislation on new seating, but that doesn’t change the facts. As for who the best player was, come on, we all know it was #21. It was not even close. Best coaches in the state doing more with less? Not quite. There are a couple examples. First, the blocked punt. Lovett should have known Calhoun was great at that as they blocked three in the first round against Loganville. If Lovett had superior coaches they would not only have not allowed a blocked punt but would have used Calhoun’s agrressiveness on special teams against them. But nope, another blocked punt for Calhoun. Second, and the biggest point was that for some reason Lovett thought they could single man cover Darick Rogers. What were they thinking? I don’t know, because they saw Jefferson County’s best athlete (other than Bostic) try the week before and he was worked silly. One of the marks of a great coach is taking an opponent’s best weapon away and making a team beat them left-handed, so to speak. That is exactly what Buford did and exactly what Lovett did not do. The results from those two games speak for themselves.

Congrats on Lovett baseball stadiums and championships, but this is a football article and board and as far as I’m concerned, I would rather play in ONE football championship than win five baseball championships.