Sunday October 22nd, 2017 8:09AM

Buford runs over North Hall for 7-AAA title (VIDEO)

By Jeff Hart Sports Reporter
GAINESVILLE -- Buford made sure no tiebreakers would be needed to decide the Region 7-AAA champion this time.

The Wolves took advantage of two first quarter North Hall turnovers for two touchdowns in a 1:43 span en route to a 42-14 win over the Trojans Friday night at The Brickyard.

The win earned Class AAA No. 1 Buford (10-0, 7-0 Region 7-AAA) the outright region title and knocked the seventh-ranked Trojans (8-2, 5-2) to third place as both teams now prepare for the state playoffs.

North Hall coach Bob Christmas knew coming in perfection would be needed to knock off the defending state champions. It was anything but in the opening seven minutes.

"You can't turn the ball over against good teams and we had a couple early that really hurt," Christmas said. "We didn't execute very well in the first half and Buford took advantage of it. But our guys never quit and we'll just move on and get ready for the playoffs."

Buford coach Jess Simpson said it was a great way to end the regular season.

"It feels great to win the region," he said. "Last year we only got one home game and now we get one and if we win that one we'll get another and if we win that a coin flip at worst. This is what we worked for and we're very pleased."

It was a wild start for both teams.

North Hall would fumble on its third play and Buford would recover at the Trojans 20. But the Wolves would give it right when Thomas Wilson fumble going into the end zone and North Hall's Brannon Dyer recovered for a touchback.

The Wolves would stop North Hall on three plays on its next possession and Montgomery VanGorder would scramble for 44 yards three plays later to give Buford a 7-0 lead with 7:06 left in the first quarter.

The Trojans helped Buford again on their next possession when Andrew Smith and Zac Little mishandled a handoff on the second play and Buford would recover at the North Hall 22.

Terrance Wilson would rumble 20 yards to the North Hall 2 and Xavier Gantt would make it 14-0 Buford on the next play.

North Hall never recovered.

"I thought those two plays were huge because we were able to get a couple of scores fast and that seemed to take some steam out of them," Simpson said. "North Hall is so well-coached and they run a tough offense and run it well. To get an early lead really gave our guys a lift."

The Wolves' Thomas Wilson would cap the next two drives with touchdown runs of 22- and 1-yard. Wilson set up his second TD with a 32-yard run the play before ad Buford extended its lead to 28-0 with 6:39 left in the first half.

The Wolves made it 35-0 with 18 seconds left in the half when Taylor Mitchell connected with Cameron Poole on a 13-yard TD pass.

Buford dominated on both sides of the ball in the first half. The Wolves ran 213 yards on just 19 carries (11.2 ypc) while the defense held North Hall's vaunted running game to just 40 yards on 28 carries in the first half.

Buford picked up right where it left off in the second half taking the opening drive 67-yards, capped by a 16-yard TD run from Joshua Thomas for a 42-0 lead.

North Hall would finally get on the board following Thomas's run. The Trojans would convert a 4th-and-15 fake punt and then Zac Little would pop a 53-yard run down the right sideline with 2:12 left in the third quarter to make it 42-7.

Andrew Smith would finish the scoring for North Hall with a 2-yard TD run to cap a 53-yard drive after the Trojans' defense held Buford on downs.

Joshua Thomas would finish with 101 yards on just eight carries to pace Buford, which had 10 different players carry the ball. Thomas Wilson added 84 yards on seven carries.

Little would finish with 89 yards on 13 carries to lead North Hall.

Buford finished with 386 total yards -- 319 on the ground -- and North Hall had a season-low 161 yards of total offense.

Buford........14....21....7....0 -- 42
North Hall.....0.....0....7....7 -- 14

First Quarter
BUF -- VanGorder 44 run (Bonadies kick) 7-0, 7:06
BUF -- Gantt 2 run (Bonadies kick) 14-0, 5:23

Second Quarter
BUF -- Th. Wilson 22 run (Bonadies kick) 21-0, 11:11
BUF -- Th. Wilson 1 run (Bonadies kick) 28-0, 6:39
BUF -- Poole 13 pass from Mitchell (Bonadies kick) 35-0, 0:18

Third Quarter
BUF -- J. Thomas 16 run (Bonadies kick) 42-0, 7:21
NH -- Little 53 run (Dennis kick) 42-7, 2:12

Fourth Quarter
NH -- A. Smith 2 run (Dennis kick) 42-14, 4:01
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