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Steady defense leads Buffalo past Richwood 36-8

BUFFALO - While Buffalo's offense has had its peaks and valleys thus far, the Bison defense has been a constant on which the team has relied.

On Friday night at Vic Ferrari Field, the Bison defense lived up to its billing until Buffalo's quick-strike offense arrived.

The Bison was working on its third shutout of the season until Richwood's Brendan Gumm scored on a 41-yard run against the backups with just over two minutes remaining. Still, the effort was enough for Class A No. 14 Buffalo to secure a 36-8 win.

Bison quarterback Levi Jordan hit Garison Erwin on a 40-yard throw on play action for a touchdown, and a 41-yard connection from Jordan to Laythen Good set up a 7-yard scoring run for Jordan Tucker as Buffalo built a 14-0 lead in the first quarter.

Thanks to stellar defense that bent but never broke, that was enough for the Bison to kick it into cruise control.

"Our defense has stepped up all year," Buffalo coach Mike Sawyer said. "We've given up some yardage here and there but we've stiffened up when we need too. Coach [Jimmy] Tribble does a real good job with them and he gets them ready and they're getting better each week too, so that helps."

With a 14-0 lead in the third quarter, the Buffalo offense officially joined the party as the Bison scored touchdowns on three of its next six plays, including passes of 59 and 77 yards from Jordan to Good and Tucker, respectively. Good also found the end zone on an 18-yard run after a Richwood fumble.

The scoring tosses were hit on the same play, a slant pass on a one-step drop, with Good and Tucker doing most of the work after the catch.

"Momentum wins games and our wide receivers over the summer got together with me and we threw routes and got some chemistry, so that always helps," Jordan said.

Richwood, and in particular quarterback Zach Bennett, accumulated a fair amount of yardage, but almost all of it seemed to come between the 30s as the Bison defense made play after play when it mattered most.

The Lumberjacks (2-4) rushed for 340 yards on a whopping 66 attempts, but Bennett and backup Logan Cox combined for just 2 yards on 1 of 14 passing and Richwood just couldn't sustain drives long enough to make dents in the scoreboard.

"I thought we played hard the whole game, they just have more weapons than we can match up with," Richwood coach Jason Rogers said. "[Their defense is] just so fast. They've got a bunch of team speed - they're hard to block. You look at them and they're not very big, but they get after it and they just keep coming and coming."

Jordan, who broke school records in passing yards and touchdowns last week, finished the game with 269 yards on 6 of 9 passing with no interceptions. For those keeping track, that's a ridiculous 44.8 yards per completion.

Buffalo improved to 4-1 and the focus remains not just on making the playoffs but securing a first-round home game. With home dates against No. 10 Wirt County and Fayetteville as well as a road trip to No. 4 Wahama to finish the year, Sawyer knows the road will be tough.

"Everybody's goal is to get into the playoffs and of course you'd like to have a home playoff game," Sawyer said. "Last year we had to go to the Eastern Panhandle and got a tough draw. The last three years we made the first round and came home and we don't want to do that this year. Our goal is to go further, but you've got to get there first. If we get a home game it should be easier to do that this year."

Bennett led all rushers with 167 yards on 26 carries. Good led the Bison with 92 yards on 10 carries and 107 yards on three receptions.

Reach Ryan Pritt at 304-348-7948, ryan.pritt@wvgazette.com, or follow him at twitter.com/RPritt.

 


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