High School Sports

Mary Persons can’t slow down Buford

BUFORD -- During warm-ups in the minutes before kickoff, a few of the Mary Persons players crossed the 50-yard line into Buford territory, leading to a brief exchange of words at midfield.

While a few phrases were jawed back and forth, no real damage came of the incident, but it would be one of the few times the Bulldogs entered Buford territory.

In the first meeting between the two programs, the Wolves (12-0) methodically wore down the Bulldogs for a 35-14 win Friday night in the second round of the GHSA Class AAAA playoffs at Tom Riden Memorial Stadium.

The win, which stretched Buford’s winning streak to 37, put the Wolves into the quarterfinals for the 16th straight year. This year’s opponent will be Marist, who reached the third round by virtue of a 31-21 win over Griffin.

“We were really focused and prepared, and it was fun to see them come out,” Buford head coach Jess Simpson said. “That’s one of the things that’s fun about high school kids. It’s fun to see them come out and compete.”

Buford’s running game was not at full strength as Xavier Gantt was held out of action with a pulled hamstring but the Wolves didn’t miss a beat with 248 yards on the ground.

Evyn Cooper led the way with 128 yards on 15 carries, while Brandon Mangrum (48 yards, touchdown, eight carries) and Joshua Thomas (40 yards, two touchdowns, nine carries) added to the attack.

“The story of that deal was our offensive line, tight ends and our fullbacks,” Simpson said. “They just kind of had an attitude about them in that they were going to run the ball.”