Buford football coach Bryant Appling was calm, cool and collected late in the Class 5A state title game against Warner Robins on Friday.
His Wolves trailed the Demons, 14-7, at Georgia State Stadium when he calmly made the decision to substitute back-up sophomore quarterback Ashton Daniels to give the team a spark.
Little did he know, with some help from Jamarious Isaac and the Wolves, Daniels play didn't resemble a back-up QB. He ended the night 7-of-13 for 77 yards passing in just over a quarter, including the game-tying 22-yard pass to Isaac.
“We have confidence in our entire team but we just felt that by making that change it would give (Warner Robins) a different look since Ashton (Daniels) throws right and (starter) Jarvis (Evans) is a lefty,” Appling said. “We had no problem making that change right then. And Hayden has done that all year for us so we felt good there.”
Isaac, however, was just as key in the comeback. He picked up a late Demon fumble in the fourth quarter to give the Wolves another opportunity to tie the game. That's when Daniels began to lead the 78-yard charge to paydirt.
The touchdown eventually led to overtime, in which, Isaac and the Buford defense would come up with the biggest play of the year on the third play of Warner Robins' OT drive. Isaac snagged Jalen Addie's pass to kill the Demon drive.
The forced turnover set up the Hayden Olsen 24-yard game-winning field goal, his second in the playoffs, to give the Wolves their first state title since 2014 and 12th overall.
Gaining the Edge is sponsored by Conditioned Air Systems.