Buford has gone through the Class 5A state football playoffs each week with someone other than their opponent expecting them to lose.
Can Buford beat Ware County? Check. Can Buford beat No. 1-ranked Carrollton? Check. Can Buford beat Jones County? Check.
Legendary Alabama coach Bear Bryant once said, "you never know how a horse will pull until you hook him to a heavy load."
After the 31-28 loss to Clarke Central in the Region 8-5A championship game in November, Buford coach Bryant Appling saddled up his horses and set out on a long journey to get back to the Class 5A state title game for the first time in four seasons.
As a matter of fact, the Wolves have traveled more than 900 miles over the last four weeks of the playoffs with a massively heavy load, knocking off a No. 3 seed and three No. 1 seeds.
Now, the Wolves face another No. 1 seed when they play Warner Robins in the Class 5A state championship game on Friday at Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta.
It’s a road that Clarke Central coach David Perno said he was trying to do everything to avoid going into the region title game on Nov. 8.
“If you go back and look at it, you know, we felt we could get as far as we did out of the No. 1 spot as we would have in the No. 3 or No. 4,” he said. “But we just felt like the No. 2 seed was the toughest draw with the way the bracket was set up that you could possibly have had.”
It’s just one of the intangibles Buford holds over Warner Robins. The Demons have stayed at home for the last four weeks, playing in the friendly confines of McConnell Talbert Stadium.
“You’ve got to give the intangibles to Buford,” Perno said. “The road they have taken has been incredible. We saw it coming, cause odds weren’t for us beating them, and so we knew there was a chance we could end up at No. 2. I was trying to figure out if there was any way that if we got beat by Buford not to get the No. 2. The No. 2 seed was the worst travel and the toughest road without question.”
Along the "toughest road," the Wolves blasted No. 3 seed Decatur, 43-6, at Tom Riden Stadium -- the only home playoff game. Then traveled to Waycross and shocked No. 1 seed Ware County, 34-6; followed by a thrilling, 24-21 win over No.1-ranked and No. 1 seeded Carrollton and, last week, totally dominating No. 1 seed Jones County, 29-0.
“They go to Ware County. They go to Carrollton, and they go to Jones County and win all three,” Perno said. So, now they get a neutral site, where you look at Warner Robins, it’s been easy for them. So that’s why you’ve got to give Buford a little bit advantage with those intangibles.”