Thursday May 26th, 2016 6:40PM

Buford defense slams door shut on Florida champs, 17-0

By Morgan Lee Sports Editor
BUFORD -- Buford heard all about the Trinity Christian Academy defense, it's talent, its strength and ability.<br /> <br /> The Wolves heard all of that and then showed a national television audience just what a shutdown defense looks like.<br /> <br /> Buford stonewalled the reigning Class AAA champion from Florida 17-0 on Saturday at Tom Riden Stadium, holding the Conquerors to just 72 total yards and forcing eight punts in the process in front of a national television audience on ESPN2.<br /> <br /> "We knew coming in that we were every bit as good as they were; a team like them, they're used to doing the hitting, so we had to come out and show them we could do that too," Buford junior defensive lineman/tight end Isaac Nauta said. <br /> <br /> The Wolves (1-0) certainly did plenty of that in a game that left even fans feeling the effects of countless bone-crunching hits.<br /> <br /> "They were big, strong and physical, and we were just sweating, cramping and scrapping," Nauta said. "It was a lot of fun though. I love to be challenged in a game; I'd rather lose a close-fought game than win in a 71-0 blowout that's over at the half."<br /> <br /> There would be no blowing out on Saturday -- though Buford started as though it might, putting up 14 points inside the first six minutes thanks in large part to special teams and defense. Xavier Gantt set up the game's first touchdown with a 59-yard return to open the contest. The Wolves defense then forced and recovered a fumble to key a 19-yard scoring drive.<br /> <br /> "I'm grateful we could get a couple scores in the first half because they've got a great defense," Buford coach Jess Simpson said. <br /> <br /> Indeed, the Conquerors settled in after the Wolves' early blitz -- and the slobber-knocking began. And even though Buford managed 213 total yards -- 150 of that rushing -- the Wolves had to earn every yard.<br /> <br /> "We're going to find a whole lot of things we can do better," Simpson said. "We missed some calls tonight, and it was a first game, so that's part of it. I'm pleased, but we can get better."<br /> <br /> The Wolves special teams gave Simpson reason to smile -- not just in Gantt's return, but also with a 30-yard field goal from Matthew Bonadies that sealed the contest and a stout night of punting from David Curry.<br /> <br /> "David Curry did a great job not only kicking but catching snaps; we had a lot of hidden yardage there, and then the Bonadies kick was huge because that made it a three-score game," Simpson said.<br /> <br /> Bonadies' 30-yard boot capped a 12-play, 6:46 drive that started at the Wolves 20 and put the contest out of reach by the time Bonadies' kick cleared the uprights with 3:41 remaining.<br /> <br /> "That was as physical a game as I've seen," Simpson said. "Our defense held up over and over and over. But we've got to stay levelheaded; we're not as good as we think we are. We've got to come back down to earth on Monday and start working on getting better."<br /> <br /> The Wolves meant business from the opening kickoff on Satrday -- and Gantt showed it, ripping off a 59-yard return to give Buford its first play from scrimmage at the Conquerors' 41-yard line.<br /> <br /> Six plays later, the Wolves charged ahead on a perfectly-executed bootleg pass from Luke Humphrey (6 of 7, 63 yards) to Nauta, who broke wide open over the middle for a 24-yard score.<br /> <br /> Moments later Nauta made his presence felt on defense, smacking Trinity Christian running back Michael Clark to jar the ball loose -- a fumble that Gantt recovered at the Conquerors' 19.<br /> <br /> "I had helmet knocked sideways and I really didn't see much of it, I just clubbed at the ball," Nauta said.<br /> <br /> The turnover set up a 1-yard scoring plunge from Joshua Thomas -- who finished with a game-high 67 yard on 12 carries -- to make it 14-0 with 6:17 left in the first quarter.<br /> <br /> Despite managing minus-seven yards on their first two possessions, Trinity Christian stabilized its woeful start and stayed in the contest through halftime, forcing three straight Buford punts -- a moral victory for a team that managed just 35 yards of offense over the opening 24 minutes.<br /> <br /> Buford's offense also found tough going against the Conquerors, managing 73 yards in the first half -- 35 of that on the ground. It was a theme that was to continue for the rest of the night. And you get the feeling that opposing offenses will have that feeling for much of the season against Buford.<br /> <br /> The Wolves will play host to Berkmar on Friday.<br /> <br /> <br /> <b>SCORING SUMMARY</b><br /> <b>TRINITY CHRISTIAN</b>...0....0....0....0 -- 0<br /> <b>BUFORD</b>.....................14....0....0....3 -- 17<br /> <br /> <b>First Quarter</b><br /> BUF -- Nauta 24 pass from Humphrey (Bonadies kick) 9:00, 7-0<br /> BUF -- Thomas 1 run (Bonadies kick) 6:17, 14-0<br /> <br /> <b>Fourth Quarter</b><br /> BUF -- 30 field goal Bonadies, 3:41, 17-0
© Copyright 2016
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
2014 Top 10: Looking back at the top sports stories of the year
It was another year for the record books in 2014, mostly for the right reasons -- state championships, new challenges and new stars taking their turn to shine. But there were also plenty of big stories that reminded us that sports -- like life -- isn
11:55PM ( 1 year ago )
NASCAR K&N Pro Series schedules set for 2015
DAYTONA BEACH, FL - NASCAR announced recently the 2015 schedules for its top developmental regional touring series, the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR K&N Pro Series West.
2:00PM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland boys final: Johnson makes history with win over Red Elephants <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Ever the aggressor on the court, Johnson
8:55AM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland boys semifinals: Unbeatens Johnson, Red Elephants roll into finals
Both Gainesville and Johnson powered their way into the Lanierland Tournament finals on Monday. The two undefeated teams will meet Tuesday for the title at 8:30 p.m. at Chestatee.
10:01AM ( 1 year ago )
Lanierland girls semifinals: GHS, Lady Falcons advance to finals <b> (VIDEO) </b>
Flowery Branch and Gainesville each took impressive wins Monday to advance to the Lanierland Tournament finals...
10:00AM ( 1 year ago )
Girls basketball: Lady Tigers advance to Pickens Holiday finals
The Dawson County girls basketball advanced to the finals of the Pickens Holiday Classic after an 81-54 win over Riverwood Monday.
11:48PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Sports
FCA East-West contest gives one more shot for area stars to shine <b>(VIDEO)</b>
Talk to the coaches, players and fans lucky enough to take part on Friday, and it
12:13PM ( 1 year ago )
High School Football 2014: A special season brings with it many firsts
The FCA East-West All-Star Game wraps up the 2014 campaign tonight in Gainesville. And oh what a season it has been...
9:30PM ( 1 year ago )
Four area teams finish season ranked inside top 10
Four area teams ended the 2014 season ranked inside the top 10 of the Georgia Sports Writers Association Prep Football Poll.
10:55AM ( 1 year ago )
Friday Game Night
GHSA moves basketball championships away from Macon
The Georgia High School Association announced on Thursday that it will no longer hold its annual basketball championship games in the Macon Coliseum and is moving the contests to the University of Georgia's Stegeman Coliseum and Georgia Tech's McCamish Pavilion.
6:00PM ( 40 minutes ago )
High school season over, Branch grad Shewbert still eyeing big things in coming weeks
Jake Shewbert was just a few hundred meters from the finish line, a second state championship in as many days hanging in the balance, when the pain ripped through his body.
5:56PM ( 44 minutes ago )
VIDEO: Baseball playoffs yielded highlights worth watching -- again
Check out the best highlights from the recently completed state baseball playoffs...
5:51PM ( 49 minutes ago )
Lanier Olympic Center set for another big weekend, as collegiate rowers descend on Gainesville
For the second weekend in a row, the Lake Lanier Olympic Center will buzz with activity, as athletes pack into the venue in pursuit of glory.
By AccessWDUN Staff
5:35PM ( 1 hour ago )
Baylor demotes Starr, fires coach amid sex assaults scandal
Baylor University demoted school President Ken Starr and fired football coach Art Briles on Thursday, issuing a scathing report over the university's handling of sexual assault complaints against players.
By The Associated Press
4:50PM ( 1 hour ago )