It’s taken two extra weeks, but Buford is finally going get a chance to square off with Milton on the gridiron.
It will be more than just the date and the venue when the No. 3 (Class AAAAA) state-ranked Wolves (1-0) travel to the Eagle’s next in Milton to take on the ninth-ranked (Class AAAAAAA) Eagles on Friday at 8 p.m.
Instead of going in fresh against each other when they were scheduled to two weeks ago before rain washed out their battle in the back end of that Friday night’s action in the 2019 Corky Kell Classic at Coolray Field, both teams now have had a game — and a win — under their belts that has helped them work out some opening jitters and other issues.
“It does (change some things),” Buford coach Bryant Appling said. “You usually improve a lot in the first couple weeks of the season. So with us having a scrimmage and a game under our belts, we’re probably a better team than we were a couple of weeks ago.”
At the same time, the extra two weeks of preparation, with a live game in between, has given both coaching staff a further look at their opponents than they would have had if the game had been played when it was originally scheduled.
And both those coaching staffs should get an eyeful from their respective videos.
Milton definitely demonstrated that while it is still breaking in some new talent, especially having to replace quarterback Jordan Yates, who graduated and is now a freshman at Georgia Tech after leading his team to a state title last year, the Eagles still have plenty of firepower.
They ran for 402 yards in last week’s dominating 45-0 win over neighborhood rival Alpharetta, including 201 yards and three touchdowns alone by Ahmad Junearick and 68 more yards by quarterback Jackson Weaver, powered by an offensive line led by four-star Clemson commit Paul Tchio.
That will provide quite a challenge for Buford defense that also pitched a shutout in the Wolves’ 41-0 win over Jonesboro last week, led by eight tackles by Tommy Beuglas, plus five tackles, including a sack, by Matthew Alexander.
“They’re definitely a big run team,” Appling said. “They use their quarterback a lot in the running game. They lost Yates from last year, but they still have a good quarterback this year, and he can run the football. So we’re definitely going to be paying attention to the run game.”
Meanwhile, Buford showed a pretty good mix in last week’s win over Jonesboro, with Jarvis Evans finishing 7-of-10 passing for 113 yards and three TDs, while Gabe Ervin ran 12 times for 93 yards and a score behind an offensive line led by Caleb Archer, who graded out 88% on his assignments.
But Bryant also knows that there were some little things the Wolves needed to attend to in practice this week, things he believes will make for a much cleaner game for them Friday.
“Overall, we’re still young and making too many mistakes in a couple of places,” Appling said. “Hopefully, we’ve gotten those cleaned up this week. We had a couple of special teams issues, some substitutions and things like that, which we’ve worked on all week long. So hopefully, those will be better Friday night.”