MILTON — Class 5A No. 4-ranked Buford built a big third-quarter lead and then held on in the final minute to beat defending Class 7A state champion and sixth-ranked Milton 26-23 Friday night on the road.
The Wolves (2-0) erased a 7-6 first-quarter deficit with a pair of second-quarter touchdowns for a 19-7 lead and then extended it to 26-10 in the third quarter.
The Eagles (1-1) stormed back with a pair of fourth quarters scored in a four-minute span before Buford was able to run out the final minute of the game.
Elijah Turner helped set the tone early for Buford with a 65-yard touchdown run on the game’s second play. He later added a 1-yard scoring run in the second quarter as part of his 106 rushing yards.
“Elijah’s run was a huge play for us,” Buford coach Bryant Appling said. “That helped us build some confidence. Our offense has a lot of new guys so having some early success was a big factor.”
After Turner’s big run, the Eagles took their only lead later in the first quarter. Gabe Ervin and Turner both scored on 1-yard runs in the second quarter before the Eagles closed the gap to 19-10 on a field goal as time expired in the first half.
Buford extended its lead to 26-10 in the third quarter when Jarvis Evans connected with Justice Johnson on a 43-yard touchdown pass. Milton got a pair of touchdown passes late in the fourth quarter to pull within 26-23 but could get no closer.
Evans finished a very efficient 6-of-7 passing for 120 yards and the one TD pass.
“This was a big win for us this early in the season,” Appling said. “I wasn’t too pleased with how we let them get back in the game but being able to hold them off will definitely give them some confidence. To be able to pull out a win like that on the road with so many young guys is very encouraging.”
The Wolves will play host to Life Christian out of Maryland next week.