Buford 24, Callaway 14

By David Purdum / For the AJC

Defending champion Buford knocked off Callaway, 24-14, Friday to advance to the state championship game for the seventh straight year. But it wasn’t easy.

Joshua Thomas rushed for 221 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Wolves overcome their first halftime deficit of the season.

No. 1 Buford will play No. 3 Washington County in the AAA championship game at 5:30 p.m., Dec. 13 in the Georgia Dome.

Tez Parks and Eddie Culpepper ran for touchdowns in the first half for the Cavaliers (12-2), who set a school mark in wins this season.

Buford marched right down the field on the game’s opening possession, but Matthew Bonadies hooked a short field-goal attempt. Callaway responded with quick scoring drive, capped by a 22-yard touchdown run by Parks that put the Cavs ahead 7-0.

After a Thomas touchdown run tied the score, Culpepper plowed in from 1 yard out on 4th and goal to give Callaway the lead back. The Cavaliers ran off the field to a standing ovation from their fans, leading 14-7 at halftime.

Buford regrouped.

“The seniors and I got into the locker room and told everyone that they (Callaway) couldn’t play Buford football for 48 minutes,” star linebacker Korie Rogers said. “There are very few that can.”

Rogers was right. With Georgia coach Mark Richt in attendance, the Wolves took over in the third quarter. They forced a quick three-and-out on Callaway’s opening possession of the second half and then drove 66 yards on gashing runs over the left side by Thomas Wilson and Thomas. Thomas bulled in from 5 yards out to tie the game, 14-14, early in the third quarter.

The Wolves ran left consistently, behind the blocks of Harrison Morgan, Nick Polino, Caleb Auer and Isaac Nauta.

An interception of a batted ball by Buford defensive tackle Shug Frazier set up another Thomas touchdown run in the third quarter, putting the Wolves up 21-14. Bonadies would make up for his early miss by nailing a 44-yard field goal that put the Wolves up two scores, heading into the fourth quarter

The final eight minutes were played in a soaking rain storm that blew in while Buford mounted a time-consuming drive from its own 2-yard line. The drive would end with a turnover on downs at the Callaway 20-yard line, but it took five minutes off the clock and sealed the win.

“That was the first time these guys to had to do something really, really hard, being behind at halftime,” said Buford coach Jess Simpson. “You know it’s in them. We’ve seen them do it in years past, but to see them do it in this environment was just fun. It’s what high school football is all about.”

Callaway 7 7 0 0        — 14

Buford 7 0 17 0       — 24

C – Tez Parks 22 run (Chase Freeman kick) – 3:35

B – Joshua Thomas 26 run (Matthew Bonadies kick) — :07

C – Eddie Culpepper 1 run (Freeman kick)

B – Thomas 5 run (Bonadies kick)

B – Thomas 6 run (Bonadies kick)

B – Bonadies 44 field goal

13 comments Add your comment


December 7th, 2013
12:30 am

Nice Win Wolves…

Now for a home game in the Dome!!


December 7th, 2013
6:59 am

@WACO, you got your wish. :-) Just a note to @BTHomerSimpsonDad – Buford is special and opportunity is why so many want to be part of the program. BTW, this is a swinging door of coaches that stop by each week (With Georgia coach Mark Richt in attendance).
The weather just made the second half so much better. The Wolves had to get it done with everything being thrown at them! :-)
Callaway gave it all they had, congratulations on a nice season!

Big Fan

December 7th, 2013
7:54 am

Great game by both teams. Callaway, you put a scare in them. Nice Job.


December 7th, 2013
8:07 am

Stop the run WACO. They can’t pass.


December 7th, 2013
9:32 am

@Big Fan & Fan – There was no scare, you obviously were not here. To start the second half, Buford stuffed Callaway on the first possession and scored, stuffed them on the second possession and scored, stuffed them on the third possession and scored, and then just had fun! WACO can’t stop this team, even with the bulldozers from Vanishing Point! :-)


December 7th, 2013
10:18 am

I don,t quite understand Simpson,s statement,” That was the first time these guys to had to do something really, really hard, being behind at halftime…”
Buford was down to Cartersville at halftime last year but squeaked out a win.
You see, when Buford gets out of the easiest region in the state, yes, they have to play tough football just like rest of us.
They should have moved up to 5A next year, and still have the chance to appeal I think, but if not, let us see what 4A does for them.


December 7th, 2013
10:44 am

@Pangloss,, When coach Simpson speaks its usually all about the Sr class and their leadership. You are right we were behind Carver and Cartersville last yr. He was referencing this yrs leadership.

@Green and Gold, this game was very similar to the Carver game last yr. Callaway did come out and give us a scare but over time we wore them down and our OL and defense took control. Callaway played a VERY GOOD game. They have some real studs on the field. and gave us our best game of the year.

Middle Lion Backer

December 7th, 2013
3:18 pm

where is CavsSoccerDad ? Like to hear his take on the game.


December 8th, 2013
8:42 am

Buford had 7 athletes for every one Callaway had. Bufords talent within the program exceeds anything in AAA – AAAAA. They have overwelmed anyone they played this year. @ GreenNGold, the revolving door of coaches you talk about are to see the vast amount of D-1 talent that Buford has. Exceeds most schools in 6A. They would win in AAAAAA without a doubt.


December 8th, 2013
8:10 pm

@GreenN”Sold”- Callaway proved what Calhoun proved and what hopefully WACO will prove next week – that Buford doesn’t have the cohesiveness or chemistry to win in the Finals that a real community football program has given their massive imported talent. There are a lot of teams that have a ton of talent yet they lose to lesser talented teams and Buford gets away with this in AAA til the Semis but I think the time has come this year where just like last year vs. St. Pius, they will be challenged although this time I see WACO getting it done like Calhoun and beating Buford. When kids grow up playing with each other prior to HS and then play together in HS, the bonds and familiarity are strong and that is what allows teams to overcome talent gaps. Although the University of Buford pulled this one out, I think this signals good news to WACO that Buford can be beat. I do believe WACO has plenty of talent to beat Buford and I am hoping that WACO leverages their strong chemistry to their advantage and takes advantage of Buford’s lack of genuine chemistry. I wonder who all of the D1 talent was playing harder for – their Buford Teammates and Coaches, or Mark Richt??? Buford fans seem to be celebrating a little too early and I am sure WACO is relishing the opportunity. Go WACO !!!


December 8th, 2013
10:50 pm

BT Homo Simpson –

Ride the coat tails of all others… You (Not flaming the “good” people of BT) have no idea what you are talking about.. Do you take in tuition paying students to BT? Guess BT’s chemistry sux.. No. not BT’s chemistry…. Yours…

Yes, Washington County is capable of winning Friday night.. But not BT… :)


December 9th, 2013
8:33 am

BHS actually left 24 points on the field. A missed FG, under thrown WIDE OPEN TD pass, a holding call on a long run that would have been a TD, and they took a knee inside the 5 yard line to end the game.


December 9th, 2013
9:20 am

Hey Son Of Waco, you cannot go early and tape your seats down at the Dome.