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Monday August 10th, 2020 5:37PM

Buford makes first-round statement with 43-6 win over Decatur

By Bo Wilson Sports Editor
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BUFORD — When you google frustration, words and phrases like seething, let it rip, flare, blow up and give vent to come up. 

The Buford Wolves (10-1 No. 2 seed Region 8-5A), playing with the frustration of losing the Region 8-5A championship last week to Clarke Central and a No. 1 playoff seeding, most definitely “let it rip” against Decatur in a 43-6 rout of the Bulldogs (7-4 No. 3 seed Region 6-5A) on a soggy Friday night at Tom Riden Stadium. 

I challenged them all week long," Buford coach Bryant Appling said. "I've been here 16 years and, four or five of those, we've had a loss early and went on to win a lot of games. I told them that it could be the best thing for them if you let it be. You soak it in and understand it hurts, but understand you're not invincible and just know that anybody can beat you on any given night. They started the game really fast and that's what we challenged them to do."

The win extended the Wolves 21-year second round or better playoff streak alive. They’ll travel to Region 2-5A No. 1 seed, Ware County, who beat Ola, 35-22, on Friday in the second round of the playoffs

The Wolves’ swagger and stingy attitude on defense were tough to match for the Bulldogs. Buford held the Bulldogs offense to just 40 total yards in the first half and less than 250 yards for the game while forcing three fumbles. 

The offense was explosive, exploding for 43 first-half points -- 29 of which came in the first quarter -- against a Bulldog defense that was giving up just 13.9 points per game coming in.

"Our offense played their tails off tonight," Appling said. "Everybody got challenged this week, no question. They just put it all together. Hopefully, we can start building some momentum and keep that going. 

Gabe Ervin Jr started the blow out with an 8-yard run on the Wolves’ first drive of the game. Ervin was the catalyst in getting the Wolves rushing game jump-started early. He finished with 42 yards and a score, but the Buford ground attack piled up 332 total yards with eight different backs. 

Dylan Wittke led the Wolves with 65 yards and a score and Victor Venn had 64 yards and a touchdown.

Buford quarterback Jarvis Evans tossed two touchdown passes in the opening quarter, hitting Julien Lewis twice, a 21-yard pass in the corner of the endzone with 6:40 to go and a 7-yard pass with 1:07 left. 

Venn (11-yard run), Xalan Taylor (5-yard run) and Wittke (6-yard run) tacked on scores for the Wolves. 

Justin Weaver scored the Bulldogs lone touchdown late in the game after the Wolves turned the ball over on downs at the 1-yard line. Weaver broke loose two plays later on a 3rd-and-10, going 99 yards for the score. 

"I'm just glad we played a great game," Appling said. "If we can keep building and keep going, I feel like we'll have a chance any given Friday coming up."

SCORING SUMMARY

Decatur 0 0 0 6 6
Buford 29 14 0 0 43


First Quarter
BUF -- Gabe Irvin 8 run (Hayden Olsen kick), 8:40
BUF -- Jarvis Evans 21 pass to Julien Lewis (2-pt good), 6:40
BUF -- Victor Venn 11 run, (Olsen kick), 4:07
BUF -- Evans 7 pass to Lewis (Olsen kick), 1:07

Second Quarter
BUF -- Xalan Taylor 5 run (Olsen kick), 10:02
BUF -- Dylan Wittke 6 run (Olsen kick), 8:40

Fourth Quarter
DEC -- Justin Weaver 99 run (2-pt failed), :19

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