The big scoreboard at the newly decked out Georgia State Stadium looked ugly for Buford falling behind by ten points early in the first quarter by the end of the night it was beautiful because it displayed the score 48-17. Perhaps it was nerves or the good ole jitters brought about by a new head coach and a freshman quarterback starting his first varsity game. Whatever it was by the second quarter the problem was solved they ran off 41 points in the next two-quarters.
John Ford who came over from Roswell where he earned back to back appearances in the Class 7A state finals is well on his way back for a third year this time wearing green and gold. Hillgrove got on the scoreboard by putting together a 9 play 71-yard drive that resulted in a successful 22-yard field goal by L Garcia at the 9:22 mark in the first quarter. They followed up with an 8 play 84-yard drive that was topped off when Hunter Arters took the snap and rolled right to find Jonathon Elder for a 1-yard toss for the games first touchdown just like that they were up 10 – 0. The key play on the drive was a 57-yard bomb to Justin Tew. All of Cobb County could smell what the Rock was cooking.
Desiring not to be out done Derrian Brown took the kick off back 68 yards down to the Hillgrove 14. One play later Chris Turner was in for the score to give his team life at 10-7. On their next possession, Hillgrove went right back down the field in 5 plays that traveled 50 yards Trevor Smith scored on a 48-yard dash to give them another 10 point lead 17-7. The scoring trend indicated a high-scoring affair was in the works. Then the Coach went for a Nick Sabin “an onside kick to snuffem out, ” but it failed to give Buford the ball down near the 50-yard line. They moved quickly to the Hillgrove 12 yard line time ran out in the first quarter. Switching ends of the field killed the momentum there was an errant snap and fumble they wisely kicked the field goal to cut the lead to seven at 17-10 in favor of Hillgrove.
Trevarus Walker returned the kick charging straight up the field until he was abruptly met by Davin Bryant with a hit that caused him to spin and fumble the ball at their 20-yard line. The Hero to Goat onside kick that was supposed to grab momentum had backfired now they were looking down the barrel at a tied game. Four plays later A McLaughlin waltzed into the end zone for a 6-yard touchdown to tie the game at 17-17 which remained the score until halftime. Buford received the ball to start the third quarter and took full advantage of their opportunity to take the lead. A McLaughlin hit Tyler Gillis on a 24 yard back shoulder throw near the pylon for a touchdown giving his team the lead for the first time at 24-17.
The defense came alive allowing Hillgrove only 7 yards on 4 plays. The offense took the field on the third snap Chris Turner tore off for a 40-yard touchdown run suddenly it was 31-17. From there Buford kept the pedal to the metal adding seventeen more points to distance themselves to a 48-17 victory in the 26th Corky Kell Classic. A McLaughlin found his MOJO and went 14-24 for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns pretty good for freshman QB who found his team down by 10 with their backs against the wall. Chris Turner ran the ball 11-128 yards and 2 touchdowns. Anthony Grant carried 10-90 yards with 1 touchdown while Derrian Brown carried 10 times 77 yards respectively. The young quarterback connected with four different receivers Tyler Gillis was the leader with 6 – 89 yards.
If this game was any indication of whats in store for the season Buford opponents beware.