Juggernaut Jackets jolt Rams, 31-23

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Buford unbeaten in region play

By Eric Rowell

CHESTERFIELD – The saying goes, a good defense will beat a good offense and the Buford Yellow Jackets proved that to be true Friday night when they handed the 10th-ranked Chesterfield Rams their second loss of the season, 31-23.
With the win Buford, 5-2, 4-0, sits atop Region IV AA after the surging Jackets’ fourth straight region win.
The pass-happy Chesterfield offense was stymied throughout the game by the stingy Buford defense. The Rams didn’t have an offensive score until five minutes left to play.
Chesterfield quarterback Savion Watson threw five interceptions and was sacked three times by the swarming Jackets’ defense.
“We played great football tonight.  Our coaches had a great game plan on defense and we executed perfectly,” Buford coach Tripp Watts said. “Chesterfield is a great football team and this is a big win for us and another step forward to what we want to do. Our effort was outstanding.”
Early on, it looked as if Chesterfield’s defense was going to be the one to contend with in the battle of region unbeatens.
On Buford’s first possession, BHS senior quarterback Scotti Moser missed a trailing Isaah Nesbit on a pitch back and Chesterfield’s Deandre Lewis scooped the loose ball at the Buford 40 and ran it in for the score.  The Rams led 7-0 early in the first quarter.
Buford quickly regrouped and on its next possession, moved the ball to the Chesterfield 20 where the drive stalled and Wade Lambert drilled a 37-yard field goal that put Buford on the board, 6-3 with 2:36 left in the first quarter.
On Buford’s next possession, Moser hit a streaking D.J. Stradford down the left sideline for a 63-yard pass play to the Chesterfield 12. Two players later, Moser connected with Stradford again for a 13-yard scoring strike. Lambert added the kick and Buford led, 10-7 with 10:19 left in the second quarter.
Moser completed 10-15 passes for 174 yards on the night.
Moser continued his air attack on the Rams on the Jackets’ next possession.
 On third and six, Moser hit Matthew Hunter on a 54-yard TD pass, giving Buford a 10-point lead, 17-7 with 7:59 left to play in the second period.
“Scotti is a team leader, he had a few mistakes tonight, but he had a lot more big plays for us,” said Watts.
The half ended at 17-7 after Nesbit intercepted a pass to the end zone.  
The ball-hawking Nesbit and Christian Catledge had two interceptions apiece on the night and Noah Vincent added one pick.
Buford kept the foot on the gas in the second half.
BHS quickly scored as Moser threw a backwards pass to Shylyn Wright and Wright launched a 41-yard pass downfield to a wide-open Ryan Moore for the score.  Lambert added the kick and Buford led, 24-7 with 10:49 left in the third period.
“We call it the ray double throw, we put a guy in motion and throw it back, and we haven’t scored on a trick play all year,” a smiling Watts said.
Buford’s final score came on a one-yard run by Moser with 47.9 seconds remaining in the third quarter, extending Buford’s lead, 31-7.
Chesterfield’s first offensive score came on an 18-yard pass from Lewis to Senerio Johnson.  After the two-point conversion, Buford’s lead was 31-15.
“There at the end, we backed off a little, gave them a little cushion not trying to get beat deep,” Watts said.
Chesterfield added one more score on a 22-yard pass from Lewis to Makhal Gaston and with the two-point conversion the score stood, 31-23.
BHS stayed on top to take the win and remain the lone unbeaten team in region play.
Next week, Buford looks to keep the streak alive in a homecoming clash with Central of Pageland. Central, 3-6, 3-1, rolled to a 34-19 road win over winless Cheraw.