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Business as usual for Buford in semifinals

Wolves beat Fitzgerald to reach title game for 10th time


The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Buford football coach Jess Simpson isn’t one for trivia, even as his Wolves etched themselves deeper into the state record books with Friday’s 44-21 victory against visiting Fitzgerald in the Class AA semifinals.

The victory improved defending champion Buford to a remarkable 124-6 this decade, including 35-4 in the playoffs, and elevated them among only six teams who have reached 10 GHSA championship games.

“All that’s stuff we don’t think about,” Simpson insisted. “That’s unique, but it doesn’t do us much good on the football field. It’s about being ready to play.”

The unbeaten Wolves (14-0) will put their 29-game winning streak on the line against Calhoun in Friday’s 5 p.m. final at the Georgia Dome. It will be Buford’s chance at a sixth state championship, the fifth this decade.

Simpson said his team will approach the final the way they did while clinching consecutive championships in 2001-03 during a 47-game streak.

“You don’t win games talking about what you’ve done,” he said.

The Wolves scored on eight of nine possessions with their starters playing Friday, stretching a 24-7 halftime lead into a blowout. They scored 44 points for the third consecutive game.

Buford had its patented running game in gear from the beginning, facing only three third downs in the first half, twice converting on fourth and scoring on all four of its possessions in the half.

After Cody Getz capped the Wolves’ first drive with a 13-yard run, Jessel Curry scored from the 1 for a 14-0 advantage. Storm Johnson turned a fourth-and-1 into a 45-yard run to Fitzgerald’s 8-yard line two plays before Getz scored from the 4. Daniel Villafuerte’s 36-yard field goal put the Wolves ahead 24-7 a minute before halftime.

Villafuerte, who kicked three field goals in Buford’s 44-10 quarterfinal victory against Dublin, added second-half field goals of 39 and 42 yards against Fitzgerald (11-3).

Jemea Thomas provided the highlights for the Hurricanes, although they failed to extend their ninth consecutive playoff appearance or return to the final for the first time since 2000. Thomas scored all three Fitzgerald touchdowns, on two 1-yard runs and a 27-yard pass from Brad Taylor.

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