AAA: Buford 10, St. Pius 3

The Buford defense lived up to its billing as the best in the state, putting the clamps on the the prolific St. Pius running game and coming away with a 10-3 victory in the Class AAA championship game.

The win gave Buford (12-3) its fourth state championship in five years and its first since moving up in classification. It was the school’s ninth state title and the eighth in 12 years.

“That’s the legacy these seniors have left you,” Buford coach Jess Simpson told his team after the game. “That’s what you juniors and sophomore have to live up to.”

Buford limited St. Pius to 104 yards rushing, 198 yards below its average, and only 184 total yards. St. Pius had only three runs that exceeded 10 yards. The St. Pius defense was equally rugged and allowed Buford only 178 total yards, 189 below its average.

The difference in the game came down to one play early in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-1 at the 39, Buford quarterback Taylor Mitchell pitched the ball to Dontravious Wilson, who headed to the right. Wilson got lost in a crowd and, with Jordan Perlotte acting as the lead blocker, emerged from the pack for a 39-yard touchdown run with 9:10 remaining.

“We couldn’t hit the one play we needed and they did,” said St. Pius coach Paul Standard. “That was the difference in the ball game.”

Wilson, who has committed to Western Kentucky, wound up with 59 yards on 12 carries. St. Pius was led in rushing by Ryan Braswell, who carried 17 times for 88 yards; his only big burst was a 41-yard run.

No. 7-ranked St. Pius (12-3) set the tone for the game on its first possession. The Golden Lions were able to effectively run their option offense, with quarterback Jack Spear taking the lead, and drove to the Wolves 24 yard line in 13 plays. But on fourth-and-1, Braswell was hit head-on by Korrie Rogers for no gain to end the threat.

Neither team did much until No. 3-ranked Buford got the ball with 1:33 left in the half and raced downfield to set up a 43-yard field goal from Matthew Bonadies.

St. Pius tied the score on its first possession of the second half. The Golden Lions used 10 plays to get to the 30, where Thomas O’Leary kicked a 47-yard field goal, his longest of the season, to make it 3-3 with 4:38 remaining.

Pius had two possessions in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t move it against Buford. The first one resulted in a punt and the final ended with a couple of sacks.

“Our defense played with reckless abandon,” Standard said. “Everything Buford got they earned. I think their size was probably the difference at the end.”

It was an emotional game for Buford, which dedicated the season to former assistant coach Ryan Daniel, who died suddenly in January while playing a pickup basketball game. There were photos of Daniel taped up in the locker room, with a message extolling the Wolves to “Play for something bigger than yourself.” The Buford jerseys even had the “RD” printed in gold letters in Daniel’s honor.

118 comments Add your comment

Region 7-AAA

December 14th, 2012
9:18 pm

Good job Wolves! Bout time I don’t have to listen to those SPX trolls anymore.

Beekner

December 14th, 2012
9:25 pm

Proud to be a Golden Lion!

Rizzo

December 14th, 2012
9:31 pm

It was a great game, both teams played well.

Region 7-AAA

December 14th, 2012
9:59 pm

Agreed, it was an awesome game! Probably going to be the best one of the weekend next to the Lovejoy/Norcross game tomorrow night.

Clive

December 14th, 2012
10:02 pm

Region,

Get a life, man!

BufoRD '78

December 14th, 2012
10:06 pm

Was at the game and St Pius was tough. A shame one team had to lose. With the deaths of 2 young athletes in our community this year, this one was special. Go Wolves!!!!

Defense wins Titles

December 14th, 2012
10:20 pm

Josh Cardiello bringing championship mentality to The “G”. Josh will be a Darn Great Dawg.

Defense wins Titles

December 14th, 2012
10:22 pm

LB Korie Rogers will be next Buford player to join The “G”. GATA Korie. Join our 2014 Dawg Recruiting Class, My Man.

Seen a Few

December 14th, 2012
10:47 pm

Congratulations Buford on a great win for you. Region 7 AAA. Your comments are classless and I’m sure most good Buford fans don’t want you to represent them. These much smaller group of ball players from SPX played these incredible Buford Athletes pretty dad gum hard and close. “The difference in the game came down to one play early in the fourth quarter. On fourth-and-1 at the 39, Buford quarterback Taylor Mitchell pitched the ball to Dontravious Wilson.” otherwise there was no redzone activity for Buford. Name another team other than the Red Elephants who are winning big in the final 5A game right now that played Buford so close. Again congratulations to Buford but “The St. Pius defense was equally rugged and allowed Buford only 178 total yards, 189 below its average.” Just a proud dad of a Pius player who wants them to get their credit. I would think that most reasonable fans of both teams would acknowledge that this was a slobber knocker classic. Congrats to both teams and coaches.

bigbadbob

December 14th, 2012
10:57 pm

Seen A few,

What a joke! “Poor little ole Pius…woe is us, we are so small”, yet you recruit kids from all over the metro area with your sham of a 7th/8th grade program when you don’t even have 7th and 8th grade classes. And you don’t mind bringing in a few ringers here and there from the public schools al la GAC whose parents can suddenly afford private school tuition. The Buford kids parents probably didn’t take them for private athletic lessons and hire trainers for them when they were in middle school. If you are so proud of your kid and can afford private school, why didn’t you at least send him to one with good academics?

Football Mom

December 14th, 2012
10:58 pm

Well said ‘Seen a Few’. Both teams played a good game. Advice for Buford -Show some class – as they say, ” Act like you have been there before.”

Son of Waco

December 14th, 2012
10:58 pm

If you can lose 22 starters and then win the state championship the next season the pool of talent must be college like….

Football Mom

December 14th, 2012
11:00 pm

to bigbadbob — One question – Have you ever heard of the GFL?

larrydrew

December 14th, 2012
11:08 pm

Football Mom: WTF? Buford has been to the finals (and won) MANY times. When was the last time whiny Pius has been there? (even after spending the past few years trying to beat up on the tiny little public schools before they were forced to move back up in classification). Did somebody steal your precious spoiled little rich kid’s lunch money at the scary Dome?

Camden74

December 14th, 2012
11:13 pm

Congratulations wolfie! :-)

YELLERJACKETZ1

December 14th, 2012
11:15 pm

LARRY BE NICE !!! GREAT GAME BOTH TEAMS ! BUFORD CALHOUN SURE MISSES YALL WHY DID YOU GO ? OH WELL LETS FLIP A COIN TOMORROW EVE AND TEE IT UP SUNDAY !!!

Rizzo

December 14th, 2012
11:21 pm

Seen a few, good post. I agree that this was one of Buford’s most formidable foes, and I was never sure until the last 10 seconds that Buford.

Bigbadbob, I hope you’re not from Buford. You’re embarrassing.

Rizzo

December 14th, 2012
11:23 pm

Sorry, I meant I was never sure until the last 10 minutes that Buford would win.

Big Fan

December 14th, 2012
11:28 pm

Bigbadbob…tell me what was said above that you complained about above your post that wasn’t factual. You don’t think your players are bigger and better athletes. Is that not a compliment? Then you get off on the SPX program. There was nothing in that post that referenced Buford’s program. Why so defensive? Looks like someone stating facts and congratulating both teams to me. What’s up with the attack on academics? Again, did anyone say anything negative about Buford?

ST PIUS fan

December 14th, 2012
11:43 pm

bigbadbobby- You my friend may have won the game but you are a true LOSER in life Larrydrew. Go get some help you need it. I AM PROUD TO BE A GOLDEN LION..

ST PIUS fan

December 14th, 2012
11:48 pm

I am just happy to see Son of WACO back on here … Welcome my friend who I feel can win it all next year. That game two weeks ago was the best high school game I have been to in a long time. You were always classy in victory and defeat unlike the University of BUFORD DOGS.

ST PIUS fan

December 14th, 2012
11:52 pm

larry larry larry does your mommy know you still wet the bed?????? You are SUCH a loser… We are so PROUD of our GOLDEN LIONS . WHAT A GREAT SEASON…….

Cay

December 15th, 2012
12:15 am

Wow, Larry and Bigbadbob are embarrassing to Buford. I hope Buford doesn’t claim you guys, actually. It was a heck of a game, though. Buford was big and physical — overall, it was just an incredibly physical game. Pius made one more mistake than Buford and it cost us. So congrats to Buford. So proud of Pius, though. We exceeded expectations in our “down” year… So we got a lot to be proud of.

It’s great to be a Golden Lion!

Fred

December 15th, 2012
12:16 am

@bigbadbob – I don’t have a dog in this fight but I do find it exceedingly humorous and ironic that a Buford fan complains about recruiting. I fully understand that Buford has open enrollment and anyone can pay the tuition and go to the schools. I am a little curious just how many of the football players don’t live in the city limits. I guess most do but I bet there are more than one or two that live outside the city and pay tuition to attend.

Fred

December 15th, 2012
12:20 am

@larrydrew – You make FootbalMom’s point for her perfectly! Speaking of moving up/playing up, I believe there are other schools such as Marist and Lovett that have similar numbers as Buford but play up 2 classifications to play against similar competition. If Buford is so good, why don’t they move up? Just asking.

Joe

December 15th, 2012
12:24 am

As opposed to SPX, which has no city limits!?!

ST PIUS fan

December 15th, 2012
12:26 am

Cay Fred : Can this GLODEN LION get an AMEN… Very well said. It is GREAT TO BE A GOLDEN LION

Joe

December 15th, 2012
12:30 am

You can’t play up in one sport only, and it includes the other A, also. You’re asking Buford to jump off a cliff with everything, or push the other schools off a cliff in football. Seems like the right choice for Buford–their job isn’t to bring their program down to your level–it’s your job to rise to theirs!

Winks

December 15th, 2012
12:35 am

The recruiting topic is a waste of time. St. Pius is open to anybody who applies and gets accepted. Buford’s not private, but the same applies except there is no “acceptance” standard. You apply, you have a little sense, you’re in. For what it’s worth, Buford is in Gwinnett County yet many of the best players from that program in recent years have come from Hall County.

So the recruiting stuff is like peeing in the wind.

And it was clearly that Buford was bigger. Much bigger. Talented group of big boys.

Buford was probably the fourth best offense SPX played against this year. By far the best defense, however, and the best overall coached team St. Pius faced.

Obvious

December 15th, 2012
12:38 am

For the Golden Lions – 45 must be the charm…

Hamilton

December 15th, 2012
12:44 am

A good, clean, hard fought game! Congrats to Buford on the win. You want to win em all, but if you gotta go down, that is the way to do it. No fumbles, no critical penalties, just a tough ass good game. Congrats Golden Lions – you made the whole SPX community proud. Again, well done , Buford – we hope to do it again next year.

Not an ST PIUS fan

December 15th, 2012
1:01 am

ST PIUS fan – you are an embarrassment to the kids who gave it all at the dome this evening. Go back to your bottle and remote. Please use a moniker which better describes your real life – like fat, used car dealer. Yea you – ST PIUS fan. What an idiot. YES – YOU. C-R_Y-B=A”B’Y

Not an ST PIUS fan

December 15th, 2012
1:08 am

@seen a few — you are a class act. It is too bad this bozo ST PIUS fan continues to get on these ajc blogs and embarrass your entire community. Of course, he’s a coward who remains a tiger behind that keyboard of his. GREAT GAME and a better season. Y’all have a lot to be proud of!!!

Dang

December 15th, 2012
3:58 am

It’s 3A people, calm down. Not like it means anything. Not even real football at this level

CMT3204

December 15th, 2012
6:16 am

Congrats to the Wolves! It was a very good game played by two very well coached teams. I fully expect to see Pius in the mix again next year. Proud to be a Buford grad! Coach Simpson and his crew never cease to amaze me with what they get out of those kids! Its awesome, totally awesome!

Chris

December 15th, 2012
7:00 am

Congrats to Ralph and the GHSA!. Another state title for you. As long as Buford is allowed to control their enrollment numbers and be very selective in the process, they will remain a forcein the lower classifications. It is not recruiting, it is referred to as cherry picking.

Spx dad

December 15th, 2012
7:41 am

Very hard fought game! Buford’s def line and lb’s would give any school regardless of class a run for their money as best in state. As for Buford moving up, as someone already mentioned, all sports would need to move as well which would not make sense. The director cup going to the best school in all sports will be a running between Woodward, BT, and Spx in aaa. Spx is on their way to another one with state titles in girls and boys cross county and runner ups in football and volleyball.

Football Friend

December 15th, 2012
7:45 am

It was a really great game to watch. Sorry to see the comments so negative. Both teams played a great game and (from what I understand) both are very good schools. Both schools should be proud.

Mike

December 15th, 2012
7:51 am

Bigbadbob,

100% of St. Pius grads go to four year colleges but you can take solace in the fact that the Techinical College was a sponsor of the GHSA games so maybe there is a place for you yet. I say maybe as I doubt you would be accepted.

Great game Buford ans SPX!

SPX Class of 75

December 15th, 2012
7:56 am

A large percentage of this thread is simply shameful. Can’t we all just congratulate both teams on a fine season, a hard-fought title game, and accept the fact that, in the end, one team wins and one does not. In this case, it’s Buford but that, in no way, taints the effort of St. Pius. These are young kids on both teams who sacrifice and toil and invest their hearts and souls, win or lose. Hats off to both. As for those who would take cheap shots in either direction, well, they taught us at Pius to pray for people like you.

clem

December 15th, 2012
7:58 am

spx recruits and buford doesn’t….that’s funny.

WA Parent

December 15th, 2012
8:05 am

Congrats to Buford on a well-fought game. They made the plays when they needed to make them. Yes, Spx dad, let’s get back to the race for the Director’s Cup!

Incorrect Wink

December 15th, 2012
8:13 am

Incorrect Wink…there is an acceptance standard at Buford at it doesn’t include sports ability.

out of towner

December 15th, 2012
8:25 am

This entire thread is an embarrassment to humanity. It’s a high school football game.

NurseBecky

December 15th, 2012
8:25 am

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again—these are kids you’re talking about. Those of you who say all these hateful things on this blog should be ashamed of yourselves. The most important thing is that everyone got to the Dome safely, no kid was injured, it was a hard fought game and Buford won fair and square. So pack up your stupid ugly words and get over it. You’re supposed to be adults, so act like it.

stspxgrad

December 15th, 2012
8:28 am

I cannot believe how far SPX has come since my playing days. So proud of those guys. My little brother was the starting fullback for the SPX team that beat Marist to break the 21 year losing streak. You don’t have to ask if he was cheering on the Golden lions at the Dome last night.

Addressing recruiting: ANYONE who even suggests that we recruit has no idea what they are talking about. I can personally state that as a former player, SPX never recruited. Hell just look at our records before Standard arrived. We did and still do the best we have with what we have. Don’t even try to bring the 7th-8th grade program up, we had that when I played and nothing has changed.

What did happen was a change in culture. Standard gave us that foundation to start building a winning program, and it didn’t happen overnight! He changed everything, from how we conducted practice and utilizing players where they were better suited to how the school and supporters percieved our team. He made believers out of us and gave us confidence that we could WIN. THIS DIDN’T HAPPEN OVERNIGHT. Again, look at the records before 2003. Now, that we have FINALLY established a winning culture at SPX, people start accusing us of recruiting just because we are a “private school”. Look into the facts before you make such a bold and uneducated statement. GO LIONS.

Stringer Bell

December 15th, 2012
8:37 am

Great game where both teams left it out on the field, which I truly expected. Congrats to both teams for making it an exciting, tough, physical game. Although Buford won the ship, there were no losers in this game IMO.

- Woodward Academy Dad

PiusDad

December 15th, 2012
8:56 am

Great job by the kids on both teams and both coaching staffs. Buford was bigger and deeper, but our Pius boys gave them a run for their money and the defenses on both sides played awesome. It came down to one play. Congrats to Buford and Pius nation needs to hold their heads high and be proud of these boys.

GnG

December 15th, 2012
8:59 am

The game was fun to watch and it appeared from the side line that both teams matched up in size and were both coached very well. All this is a small rock in life, as I have terminal cancer and will not see many more title games if any. Pleased with the outcome! Buford football is a scholaship program and kids in some programs don’t even get to play, so they come here (on their own) hoping to be part of the scholarship program. Each new student must pass a panel and be approved in scholastic efforts and community efforts first regardless of ability in football. We don’t want troubled students here to give you more reasons to complain. Contribute to the City of Buford or you will not be accepted! :-)

WolvesArePeaking

December 15th, 2012
9:08 am

Well that’s the end of another great season at Buford…… Say what you wanna say were the state champs again!