Tuesday December 7th, 2021 6:05AM

Football: Buford slams Lovejoy; advances to 6A quarters

By Mason Seabolt Sports Intern
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BUFORD, Ga. — It was just another night at the office for top-ranked Buford. 

The Wolves continued their march to Georgia State Stadium in Atlanta with a 44-7 rout over Lovejoy in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs Friday night at Tom Riden Stadium. 

"Proud of them, proud of those guys, everything wasn't clean, but the things (offensive coordinator) Coach Condon could find, he exploited them and we did a good job putting points on the board early," Buford coach Bryant Appling said. 

Buford roared out to a 41-0 lead in the first half, 10 of which came from the Wolves' punt block unit on a safety and blocked punt in the endzone for a touchdown.

Buford's offense was clicking as senior running back Victor Venn led the rushing attack with 80 yards on six carries and a touchdown. Venn split carries with 5 other backs as the team rushed for 182 yards. They did so by putting up 308 total yards, and they helped burn plenty of clock to keep the ball away from the Lovejoy offense.

Junior quarterback Dylan Wittke got the start and was almost perfect as he went 5 for 6 for 52 yards and a touchdown pass to KJ Bolden. Senior Ashton Daniels came on in relief in the second quarter and was almost flawless. Daniels went 4 for 5 with 74 yards and two touchdowns, both to senior receiver Isaiah Bond. 

And Class 6A's No. 1 defense, showed no mercy as well, holding the Wildcats to just 78 total yards of offense. Before the 38-yard touchdown pass from Stephin Craig to Javon Kinchen late in the 4th quarter, the Wildcats had only allowed 40 yards of total offense and no points. 

Appling was proud of the tenacity his defense displayed against Lovejoy.

"They've been doing a great job all year long, and the guys who have been playing the most, had close to as a perfect a night you could," he said. "They played really good, fit good, tackled good, got the ball out once, just proud of where we are."

From the onset, it was an uphill battle for the Wildcats. With less than a minute into the game, Victor Venn turned on the jets and ran 57 yards to put Buford ahead early. Couple that with a successful two-point conversion, and there was a lot of pressure for the offense to respond.

But Lovejoy went three-and-out, and to make matters worse, snapped the ball over the punter's head and out of the end zone for a safety. The Wildcat defense forced a punt on the ensuing drive, but this time Buford blocked the punt, and KJ Bolden recovered it for a touchdown. With five minutes left in the first quarter, they were down 17 to nothing.

The offense as a whole didn't have a good day, no thanks to the rabid Wolves defense. They ran the ball 20 times for only 37 yards or 1.85 yards per carry.

Passing the ball wasn't any easier as senior quarterback Stephin Craig completed only two of his 10 passes for 41 yards and the aforementioned score to Kinchen.

The GHSA coin flip for like seeds in the playoffs didn't fall Buford's way. The Wolves will have to make the 3 1/2 hour road trip to Lee County in the quarterfinals of the Class 6A playoffs next week.



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