BUFORD — Gabe Ervin Jr. ran for two touchdowns and caught a touchdown pass to spark Buford to a 35-0 win over Dacula on Friday, earning the Wolves the Region 8-AAAAAA football championship.
Ervin, a Nebraska commit, ran nine times for 94 yards and two touchdowns and caught two passes for 48 yards and one touchdown. Quarterback Dylan Wittke completed 8 of 11 passes for 151 yards and two touchdowns for the Wolves.
Buford (8-1) ended Dacula’s streak of 25 straight region wins and four consecutive region championships, earning a first-round matchup next Friday at home against Douglas County in the state playoffs. Dacula (6-3) will be the No. 2 seed from Region 8 and will host Alexander in the first round.
“It was a great week of practice,” Buford coach Bryant Appling said. “Our kids were amped up for this game and they have been since the they saw the schedule. They were on an even keel, they’ve been concentrating all week and they did a great job at handling their job and playing through the whistle every play.”
The Wolves set the tone on the opening kickoff. Jake Pope broke out of the pack and raced down the visitor’s sideline for a 55-yard return. Five plays later, Ervin scored on a fourth-and-1.
Dacula made a mistake on the kickoff and the returner stepped out at the 1. The Falcons picked up a first down, but had to punt and Buford started at its 47. This time it took the Wolves three plays to score, with Ervin catching a 27-yard pass from Wittke.
Buford struck again on the first play of its next possession. Ashton Daniels threw a 43-yard strike to Isaiah Bond on a post play and the Wolves had a 21-0 lead with three minutes left in the opening quarter.
Buford made it 28-0 with a touchdown just 14 seconds left in the half. The key was a fake punt, with the ball snapped to upback Eli Parks, who went 37 yards. Pope finished it on the next play by hauling in a 12-yard touchdown pass from Wittke.
The Wolves added a 79-yard touchdown run from Ervin early in the third quarter to put the game away.
Dacula running back Kyle Efford, who ran for 224 yards last week against Central Gwinnett, was limited to 38 yards on eight carries. Quarterback Blaine Jenkins completed 9 of 21 passes for 121 yards, but he was intercepted three times in the second half.
Coming up with interceptions for Buford were Malik Spencer, Ryland Gandy and defensive tackle Malik Cunningham.