Are you already in line for the Buford-Gainesville game? If not it may be too late. The crowd will be large and the atmosphere will seem like the playoffs when the two reigning state champions meet on Friday in Gainesville.
A year ago Gainesville emerged with a 19-15 win at Buford. Both teams ended up winning state championships – Gainesville in Class AAAAA, Buford in Class AAA.
Buford was dominant in last week’s 46-7 win over Elbert County. The Wolves moved the ball effectively on the ground, using its typical carousel of backs, and taking advantage of the blocking prowess of Shane Robinson (90 percent grade, 11 knockdowns) and Nick Polino (87 percent, seven knockdowns). Evyn Cooper led the Wolves with 93 yards.
But the onus for the Wolves will be finding a way to slow Gainesville quarterback Deshaun Watson, who threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns in last week’s 58-28 win over West Hall. The Buford defense will need a big night from Clemson commitment Korie Rogers at linebacker, as well as Joshua Thomas and Ryan Coleman.
Five other offensive players to watch on Friday night.
Danyale Wicker, Washington County: No. 6-ranked Washington County will likely unleash Wicker when the Golden Hawks travel to play Class A Emanuel County Institute. Wicker ran for 143 yards and scored three touchdowns last week in the win over Grovetown. The undersized (5-5, 150) Wicker is a hard man to catch once he gets loose.
Deion Sellers, Cedar Grove: The Saints are trying to prove there’s life beyond quarterback Johnathan McCrary, who graduated and signed with Vandy. Sellers (5-8, 175) is a great athlete who pitched a perfect game but is likely a better prospect at shortstop. Sellers ran 23 times for 201 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Columbia.
Kawon Bryant, North Oconee: The junior was hobbled by an ankle injury in the early part of last year but still wound up rushing for 1,200 yards. He’ll have his hands full against a tough St. Pius defense. This will be his first game of the year, as the Titans started a week later than everyone else.
Greg Walker, Peach County: The quarterback threw for 208 yards and two touchdowns and ran for another score in last week’s win against Perry. He’ll need to duplicate that effort to beat Baldwin in Milledgeville. Walker is one of the team’s most experienced players and keyed a 42-7 win over the Braves last year.
Gerald Davis, Dodge County: He scored the only two touchdowns last week in a 14-7 victory over Dublin in the annual Shamrock Bowl. Davis scored on runs of 5 and 4 yards to keep the Indians undeated going into this week’s trip to Hawkinsville.
Coach to watch:
Tim McFarlin of Blessed Trinity: If the Titans beat Hart County, McFarlin will win the 100th game of his career.