SUGAR HILL — Buford used an efficient passing attack and got its usual hard-nosed defensive effort in taking a 38-10 win over Lanier at The Ranch in a rare Saturday afternoon Region 8-6A showdown.
With the win the Wolves (6-1, 4-0 Region 8-6A) moved into a tie for first place with idle Dacula (5-2, 4-0 Region 8-6A). Those two teams are set to meet in the regular season finale in two weeks at Tom Riden Stadium.
The loss for Lanier (4-3, 1-3 Region 8-6A) was its second straight region loss and gives the Longhorns three region losses for the first time since 2016. They dropped into a tie for fifth place with just two games left.
It also was the first-ever meeting between the two schools, which are just over a mile apart on Buford Highway in northern Gwinnett County.
Buford struck first when Gabe Ervin scored on a 1-yard run seven minutes in. Alejandro Mata capped the Wolves next drive with a 22-yard field goal to push their lead to 10-0.
The Longhorns answered on their next possession with Andrew Blackford scoring on a 1-yard run to cut the lead to 10-7 with 1:57 left in the first quarter.
The teams traded punts into the second quarter with Lanier looking like it had gotten the first big break when Buford fumbled a punt inside its own 10. But the Wolves’ Boyd Farmer picked off Blackford and returned nearly 100 yards for a touchdown and a 17-7 Buford lead.
But Lanier got some late momentum when Mason Mancilla booted a 22-yard field goal to cut the lead to 17-10 at halftime.
Buford was able to increase its lead late in the third quarter when Ervin added another 1-yard TD run for a 24-10 lead. They poured it on in the fourth quarter when Ashton Daniels connected with Jake Pope on a 20-yard touchdown pass and Dylan Wittke found Cj Clinkscales for a 50-yard score with just 1:44 left.