Cars along Commerce Drive, located behind Decatur High’s stadium, had to dodge a few footballs Friday as No. 2 Buford defeated the Bulldogs 42-7 in a meeting between Region 6-AA teams.
The Wolves (5-1) scored with frequency and built a 42-0 lead in the third quarter. After almost every touchdown, Buford’s David Petroni launched the extra point between the goalpost, over the safety net at the edge of the stadium and past the school buses parked along the inside curb of Commerce Drive.
Buford scored five touchdowns before intermission, all created by Decatur mistakes or stellar defensive plays by the Wolves. Decatur (4-2), off to its best start since 2005, scored with 1:01 left in regulation to avoid the shutout.
“I’m encouraged by some things I see and worried about others,” Buford coach Jess Simpson said. “We’ve got a lot of young players, and the season is a growing process. We’ve seen some positives, but we’re not yet playing how we want to be by the end of the year.”
On Friday, Decatur quarterback Vito Antinozzi dropped back on the game’s third offensive play, threw over the middle and was intercepted by Buford’s Dillon Lee, who returned it 22 yards for a touchdown.
Buford’s Paris Head intercepted another pass near midfield at the beginning of the second quarter. Four plays later, Head — who also plays on offense — lined up as one of three wide receivers on the left side, caught a screen, and cut inside for a 39-yard touchdown.
A few minutes later, Buford blocked a punt and it was recovered by Cameron Gazaway at the 1-yard line. On the next play, Nathan Staub ran in for a touchdown and 21-0 advantage with 8:02 left in the second quarter.
The Wolves scored two more touchdowns before intermission, set up by another blocked punt and an interception by C. J. Moore. Buford finished with 265 yards of total offense.
Buford, the three-time defending state champs, has looked nearly invincible since dropping a 14-0 decision to No. 1 Carver-Columbus on Sept. 3. However, Simpson is not just ready to proclaim the Wolves as championship contenders yet.
“I think it’s too early to tell,” he said. “We’re showing some glimpses of really improving. With all of our young guys, we need to develop more consistency with how we play. We need to put plays, days and weeks together.”
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