BUFORD — Fresh off a huge win over defending Class AAAAAAA state champion Milton, Buford entered Friday's football game determined to carry the momentum into this week's game.
After a hard fought battle with the momentum swinging back and forth, the Wolves (3-0) defeated the Life Christian Academy Eagles (0-2) 33-22 in a game shortened by inclement weather.
“A big win like the one we had last week can be a funny thing. Sometimes with a young team, they can begin to think they are invincible,” said Buford head coach Bryant Appling said. “It is our job as coaches to sort of snap them back into reality.”
Life Christian struck first following a 73-yard run by Zareon Pettiford to the Buford 2-yard line. From there, Dreshaun Taylor blasted into the end zone for the game’s first score. Taylor also carried it over for a successful 2-point conversion giving the Eagles an early 8-0 lead.
“Every team you play at the beginning of the season will always have a few tricks up their sleeve, and Life Christian Academy is no different," Appling said. "We had to quickly adjust to some of the things they were doing.”
The Wolves wasted no time in answering. Utilizing a blend of running and passing, Buford quickly capitalized as Jarvis Evans Jr. found Elijah Turner open down the right sideline for a 23-yard TD pass. Hayden Olsen added the PAT, cutting the Life Christian Academy lead to 8-7 with 8:38 remaining in the opening quarter.
Buford added another first quarter score as Evans led the Wolves down the field, connecting on key passes to Jalen Huff and Jake Pope. After the drive stalled, Olsen booted a 45-yard field goal to extend the Buford lead to 10-8 with 2:38 remaining in the quarter.
The combination of Evans Jr. to Pope came up big in the second quarter. They connected on a 47-yard TD pass with 5:04 left in the second quarter. Olsen added the PAT to push the Wolves lead to 17-8.
Life answered back late in the quarter with a score of its own. Behind the legs of quarterback NaQauri Rogers, the Eagles moved down the field converting on several key possessions. Rogers finished the drive with a 20-yard TD run with only 40 seconds left in the half. Taylor again converted a 2-point conversion, cutting the Buford lead to 17-16 at the half.
Life Christian opened the second half with a bang as Treshawn Mason found a small crease in the middle of the Buford defense and raced 59 yards for the TD.
Buford answered midway through the third quarter. The Wolves converted on a key third down as Evans hit Turner with a 35-yard completion. Turner then topped off the drive with a 9-yard TD run. Following the PAT, the Wolves led 24-22.
The Buford defense added a late safety to close out the third quarter scoring and led 26-22.
The Wolves were not finished yet as they added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter. Gabe Ervin Jr. spearheaded the drive gaining 37 yards on five carries as well as covering the final three yards for the TD. Another PAT by Olsen closed out the scoring as Buford led 33-22 with 11:56 left in the game.
The game was halted at the 7:43 mark of the fourth quarter due to lightning and was later cancelled due to impending inclement weather.
“It was a bit frustrating tonight as the weather stopped the game," Appling said. "We were really beginning to take over the momentum of the game.”
Evans Jr. finished the game 10 of 16 for 159 yards and two TD passes.
BUFORD 33, LIFE CHRISTIAN 22
Life Christian Academy 8 8 6 0 - 22
Buford 10 7 9 7 - 33
Life Academy: Dreshaun Taylor 2 run (Taylor -2 PT Conversion) 10:12
Buford: Elijah Turner 23 pass from Jarvis Evans Jr. (Hayden Olsen kick)8:38
Buford: Olsen 45 FJG, 2:36
Buford: Jake Pope 47 pass from Evans Jr.(Olsen kick) 5:04
Life Academy: NaQuari Rogers 20 run (Taylor – 2 PT Conversion) 0:40
Life Academy: NaQuari Rogers 59 run (failed PAT) 9:53
Buford: Turner 9 run (Olsen kick) 5:06
Buford: Safety, 3:37
Buford: Gabe Ervin Jr. 3 run (Olsen kick) 11:56