Championship rehash: What we learned from title game

Here are just a few things that we learned from Friday’s state championship football game:

No. 1: No one knew how good the Buford defense really was, particularly against the run, until the last three weeks. It was hard to gauge because Buford was so much better than 90 percent of everyone on its schedule. But neither Carver nor Callaway nor Washington County was able put a dent in Buford’s run defense.

The size and athletic ability of Buford against the run was particularly evident against Washington County. The defensive line and linebackers suffocated any inside attempts and the quickness prevented Waco from hitting the corners. As a result, a Washington County team that entered the game with three 1,000-yard rushers wound up with a total for 42 yards. (Buford did a similar dance on Carver and Callaway the two previous weeks.)

No. 2: Korie Rogers is a tremendous talent and could be an impact player when he arrives at Clemson. Rogers is quick and strong and has a motor that doesn’t quit. He had two sacks, but it how-do-you-do meeting of Washington County quarterback A.J. Gray on a fourth-and-1 sent a gasp through the big crowd at the Georgia Dome. Before the game Washington County alum Takeo Spikes, who had a 15-year NFL career, gave an inspirational talk to his old team. Korie Rogers may be doing the same thing in a few years.

No. 3: Washington County has some legitimate offensive weapons. Quarterback A.J. Gray has a great arm and is one tough kid. Those big diesels from Buford sacked him for times and pressured him all night, but he stayed in there are kept the game close on a night when the offense could get nothing going. His favorite target was D.J. Sanders, who used his height to out-jump defenders and his speed to get behind the secondary for two huge gains. He could be a big-time player at the next level.

No. 4: Mistakes count more in a championship game. Buford had to re-kick after getting a five-yard penalty on a punt and Washington County returned the second kick for a touchdown. Washington County had a 57-yard pass completion negated because of a holding call, which led to poor field position, a poor punt and a quick Buford touchdown.

No. 5: Both Buford and Washington County communities are to be congratulated for their attendance at the game. The Sandersville crowd was dressed in black and gold, while the Buford side was covered in green. They cheered, they moaned, they probably cried a little — either with pride or dismay. Both communities did a great job representing their schools and should be commended. No wonder both places are special among the high school community. Both programs are worthy of their status as icons in Georgia football.

12 comments Add your comment

Max Sizemore

December 14th, 2013
12:34 pm

Real nice job, Stan.

Jimmy Payne

December 14th, 2013
1:08 pm

Good article.

A little piece of info on attendance. North Gwinnett is in their first state championship game and has almost 3,000 students if not more. Buford was in their 9 or 10th, lost count, has 1,100 students or so and sold only had around $300.00 less in advance tickets sales than North.

Go figure.

Sam Roney

December 14th, 2013
4:16 pm

How about Aquinas (Class A private)..Only about 285 students..Sold 1100 tickets and
took 7 busloads to game..

WACO 4 Life

December 14th, 2013
10:49 pm


December 15th, 2013
12:41 am

Nice write Stan!!

Nice effort Washington County..

Bark at the Moon!!


December 15th, 2013
12:46 am

WACO – I watched that… Sounded like Coach knew what his team was up against & was preparing them for the inevitable… & what happened in the scoreboard..

So what was your take??


December 15th, 2013
5:50 am

Did you also notice that NOBODY can stay on the field with Griffin? Look out Buford, we have another QB coming back next year, named Anfornee Stroud who is almost as dynamic as is Jaquez Parks. I am looking forward to ANOTHER Bear-y good year in 2014.

Wolf Nation

December 15th, 2013
4:25 pm

Great job as always Stan. Washington County has our respect. Two great teams…two great programs.


December 15th, 2013
11:28 pm

Sarge1Bilko: we will have our Davy Crockett rifle and hat when and if we ever get to meet these here Bears, tuff skinned but makes a good rug once U skin’em…looking forward to 2014, but heck, we still have our Basketball, Baseball, Soccer, Track and Field, Tennis,Golf, Swimming, is coming…..GHSA, thank U and GPB for a wonderful ending to a great season. Sarge1: Y’all do have a well-oiled machine down their in Spalding, enjoy it and Merry Christmas to U


December 16th, 2013
12:58 pm

You do realize Buford had a 14 week head start on selling tickets for the Dome over NG…


December 16th, 2013
1:09 pm

Buford is already selling tix to the Dome for the ‘14 Finals!!!

:) :)

Get on board….. the Wolf Gang will be running thru another classification..

Unbeaten & only on the Throne while in AAA!!

That’s how we roll!!

Bark at the Moon!


December 17th, 2013
3:10 am

42 yards for an entire game featuring three 1000 yard+ runners, what does that say about Buford’s coaching staff and the defensive schemes they implemented.
Waco an icon? What have they done to deserve this label, blew out weak foes weekend week out.Played one tough game during the season. When playing a championship pedigree their coaching staff showed they were not prepared, Waco’s head coach is more of a game manager than a coach.
Waco had great fan support from their home as well throughout Georgia, a large base of fans wanted to see Buford defeated
Waco’s fools gold came to an end on Friday the 13th.