BUFORD — Buford's Bryant Appling joined a select group last week when he guided the Wolves to the Class 5A state title in his first season.
The Wolves took a thrilling come-from-behind 17-14 victory over Warner Robins when senior kicker Hayden Olsen booted a 24-yard field goal in overtime Friday at Georgia State Stadium.
Buford had trailed the Demons 14-7 until sophomore backup quarterback Ashton Daneils connected with senior receiver Jamarius Isaac for a 22-yard touchdown pass with just 27 seconds left in regulation.
Appling joined 19 others who managed to win state tiles in their first season as had coach. Cedar Grove's Miguel Patrick also did it this season as the Saints captured the Class 3A title.
Until this season, the feat had only been accomplished three times since the 1994 campaign.
Buford finished 14-1 and won its first title since 2014 and its 12th overall, trailing only Valdosta for the most state titles in the history of the state. Buford broke a tie with Lincoln County with the victory.
(Below is the list of first-time head coaches who won state titles in the inaugural campaign.)
(Georgia High School Football Daily contributed to this story.)