Some observers thought Buford might be a tad overrated at No. 2 in the state. Sure, the Wolves have been to the state championship game the last five years, winning four titles, but that was in Class AA. Now, due to reclassification and the addition of another level of competition, Buford is competing in AAA. And with 32 seniors graduated from last year’s state runner-up team, there was a question whether Buford would take a step back.
Buford answered a lot of the skeptics in the 14-3 season opener over No. 7 Elbert County. The victory came on the road, as the Wolves traveled to play in the always-tough environment of the Granite Bowl.
Buford’s defense looked as stout as ever. It will need another similar effort next week when its hosts Gainesville and quarterback Deshaun Watson, a junior who has already verbally committed to Clemson. Class AAAAA Gainesville isn’t likely to be in a good mood after it laid an egg in 32-30 loss to West Hall.
Buford running back Thomas Wilson had good moments and some shaky moments against Elbert. He flubbed a punt that led to Elbert’s only score and then fumbled a kickoff that could have changed the momentum. But Wilson came back on the next play to intercept a pass. He would go on to catch a 37-yard touchdown pass from Montgomery VanGorder.
Here are a few other things we learned on Friday night:
St. Pius is going to be a factor: The No. Golden Lions lost a ton of players from last year’s undefeated team, but showed on Friday that they are on course to produce another good season. Lanky junior Jack Spear played a solid game in his first start at quarterback since replacing the graduated Trey White and fullback Ryan Braswell showed he has the knack for picking up the big yardage when needed the most. Braswell rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns, and his late 32-yard touchdown run put a lid on the outcome. Pius totalled 344 yards, of which 308 came on the ground. Also coming to the forefront for the Golden Lions was the kicking of Thomas O’Leary, who had three punts of at least 50 yards.
Peach County’s Robinson is the real deal: Demarcus Robinson, a Clemson commitment considered to be the top receiver in the state, showed why on Friday night. Robinson caught two passes, one of them a 95-yarder and the other from 27 yards, and returned an interception 30 yards for a touchdown to help Peach County beat rival Perry 21-14. Peach County coach Chad Campbell told the Macon Telegraph, “Sometimes your All-American and all-state wide receiver has to make plays for you. He did that. We’ll keep getting him the all if we can.” Peach County has now beaten Perry in 18 of their last 19 meetings.
Carver looks good in all-black uniforms: The Tigers broke out the all-black ensemble and responded with a 47-6 win over Shaw. Despite committing too many penalties, Carver’s offense was effective behind quarterback Torrance McGee, who had two touchdown passes. But Carver also scored on fumble return and a 94-yard kickoff return by Mario Moore.
Washington County keeps it “Cummings” against Grovetown: Jamal Cummings was one of the stars as No. 8 Washington County (2-0) spanked Grovetown 65-14. Cummings ran for 108 yards and one touchdown and returned a kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown. Golden Hawks quarterback William Walker threw for 133 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 76 yards and two touchdowns. Grovetown scored first, which must have really steamed the Washington County players, who went on to lead 44-7 at the half. Waco had 558 total yards, with 425 coming on the ground.