BUFORD — Buford was not about to let this one get away.
Ten straight seasons the Wolves have reached the state semifinals -- and on Friday the Wolves made it 10 straight times marching on to the championship game thanks to a 28-16 win over Kell at Tom Riden Stadium.
The Longhorns made Buford work for it, taking a 3-0 lead and trailing just 14-10 at the half, but Buford's tried-and-true method of strong defense and run game proved more than enough to stretch the Wolves' state record to 31 consecutive home playoff wins.
The close finish has been a theme of the 2016 playoffs for the Wolves.
"It seems like the fourth stanza of the same song," Buford coach Jess Simpson said. "Our kids just keep hanging in there. It doesn't matter who gets hurt or if we make a mistake, they just keep playing and they keep believing. I'm just so proud of my boys."
TD Roof and Christian Turner notched fourth-quarter touchdown runs -- Roof's 59-yard scamper with 5:46 to play putting Buford in control at 21-10. And even though Kell responded to pull within 21-16 with 3:22 remaining, Turner capped a 24-carry, 138-yard night with a three-yard scoring blast to send Buford back to Atlanta in style.
"We leaned on our offensive line and backs," Simpson said.
Roof finished with 113 yards on just 8 carries as junior Anthony Grant was limited. He said last year's tough loss to Cartersville in the Class AAAA championship game has stuck with them during this year's playoffs.
"I think we're peaking at the right time and we've worked 365 days to get to this moment again," Roof said. "After last year getting beat like we did, we're just doing anything and everything we can to get back there and have another shot."
Kell managed just 179 total yards against the Wolves (13-1) -- including just 88 yards rushing.
And after defeating two Region 7-AAAAA programs to reach the title game it turns out Buford will need a trifecta over 7-AAAAA to claim the crown. Region 7-AAAAA champ Rome also defeated No. 1 Stockbridge on Friday to set up the Class AAAAA finale with Buford at 4:30 p.m. on Dec. 9 in Atlanta.