Buffalo bumps off No. 1 Greenbrier West
CHARMCO - Buffalo certainly has a lot in its offensive arsenal.
But Friday night it was the defense that was the difference, as the Bison stunned Class A No. 1 Greenbrier West 29-20.
Buffalo (2-1) tallied two defensive touchdowns late in the first half and then held off a second-half charge by previously undefeated West (3-1).
Laythen Good recovered a fumble on an option pitch that he batted down and sprinted 44 yards for a score, and Levi Jordan returned an interception 82 yards for another - all in a 59-second span - to give Buffalo a 22-6 halftime lead.
"Our defense was the difference in this game,'' Buffalo coach Mike Sawyer said. "We had some kids who were out with injuries and some kids stepped in their place and played well. We bent, probably gave up a lot of yards, but didn't break.''
Up 7-6, Good lived up to his name by reading an option pitch by quarterback Malik Boatwright and batting it down, then had the ball bounce back to him and scored untouched.
"I was in the right place at the right time and I was lucky the ball bounced right back to me,'' Good said. "I mean, it came right back in my arms. I couldn't believe it.''
Less than a minute later, Jordan, better known for his exploits as the Buffalo quarterback, intercepted a Mikey Goddard pass that was batted at the line of scrimmage and returned it 82 yards for a score.
Just like that, the Bison had a 16-point halftime advantage.
"To win games like this, you have to take advantage of opportunities and our kids did that,'' Sawyer said.
The two turnovers were among the five surrendered by West.
"The difference in this game was turnovers,'' West coach Lewis McClung said. "You give up five, and they score on two of them, it's probably not going to turn out well. I give them credit. They played well and took advantage of the opportunities we gave them.''
The Bison made matters worse for West by scoring on their first possession of the second half, using a three-play drive, which ended with Good scoring his third touchdown of the game on a 24-yard run.
West came back and got a 15-yard touchdown run from Boatwright, who finished with 231 yards rushing, and 15-run from Corey Cox to make it 29-20.
But once again, Buffalo's defense rose to the occasion.
Fittingly, Good had an interception late in the game to seal the victory.
Although it is early in the season, Sawyer said beating the No. 1 team has meaning.
"Any time you beat a team that's number one it's a big win, but we really needed this after last week [a loss to Poca],'' Sawyer said. "Sure it's early, but they are a good team and we needed this. We probably needed it more than [West] did, and that may have had something to do with it.''
West, which was held on downs five times in the game and three times in the first half, including the game's opening drive at the 4, went up first on a 2-yard run by Tyler Parker on the second play of the second quarter.
But Good, who had 95 yards on the ground, gave Buffalo a lead it wouldn't relinquish with a 1-yard run.
West finished the night with 336 yards on 60 carries.
"We got ourselves in a lot of third-and-8, third-and-9 situations and that isn't us,'' McClung said. "Also, getting in a hole like we were isn't us. We like to score and control the clock.''
"They're a good team, but we really needed this win,'' Good said. "The thing we really needed to make a point. We were ready for this game all week. Any time you get a big win on the road, it's a statement.''
"I know this,'' Sawyer said. "It will make that bus ride back home a lot sweeter.''