By: Kenneth Harrison
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
The Buford Wolves are a powerhouse program in the state of Georgia since the new millennium started. The Wolves have won 13 state championships with only one coming before the year 2000 (1978).
After a drought of not winning a state championship since 2014, they won the 5A state title in 2019, finishing 14-1.
In 2020, Buford moved up to 6A and beat Lee County in the state title game. The Wolves (13-1) only lost the season opener to North Cobb, a 7A team.
Buford became the first team in GHSA history to win a state football championship in six different classifications. Buford has won titles at Class A, AA, AAA, AAAA, AAAAA and AAAAAA.
2019 was the first season for head coach Bryant Appling and he clearly knows how to win. They have the most talented team in the state, at any level. Buford has the most players ranked in the Georgia top 120 Class of 2022 recruits.
Isaiah ‘007’ Bond (5’10, 175 lbs.) is the highest ranked on the team as the No. 23 recruit in the state. He is a four-star wide receiver/corner back. He’s also an All-American in football and track. Bond is currently committed to Florida.
Safety Jake Pope (6’1, 190) is also a four-star recruit for the class of 2022 and ranked right behind Bond, No. 24. Some of the schools recruiting him are Alabama, Notre Dame, North Carolina, Ohio State and Arizona State.
Corner back Rylan Gandy (6’0, 170) is a three-star recruit and he’s committed to Pitt. This is a very talented secondary opposing teams have to deal with.
Linebacker VJ Payne (6’2, 180) is committed to South Carolina. There are more three-star recruits on the roster.
Safety Malik Spencer (6’2, 193) has committed to Michigan State.
Running back Victor Venn (5’9, 175) is committed to Colorado.
CJ Clinkscales is listed as an athlete but he plays running back and corner. He’s committed to Boston College.
Quarterback Ashton Daniels (6’3, 200) is a Stanford commit.
The season kicks off August 20th at North Cobb. The 7A Warriors won the game last year 28-14. I think this will be a close game but I give the advantage to North Cobb since they are from a higher classification.
Week 2 is against former region foe, Clarke Central (Athens) on the road. The Gladiators were 8-3 last season but lost the Buford matchup 47-0. Expect a similar result in 2021.
After an early bye week, Buford plays their first home game against Myers Park (Charlotte, NC). They advanced to the 4A state semifinals in 2020 but I don’t believe they can compete with Buford.
Chaminade-Madonna (Hollywood, FL) comes to town Week 4. They are a 3A team and were 8-2 last season. This might be a close game because Florida has very talented players. The rest of the season is region games after this.
The remaining region 8-AAAAAA opponents are Central Gwinnett, Habersham Central, Shiloh, Lanier, Winder-Barrow and Dacula.
In 2020, they beat their region opponents by a combined score of 257-24. They are far superior to the other teams in the region and they will easily repeat as region champs.
I expect Buford to go into the playoffs with a 9-1 record and repeat as state champions.