Buffalo’s football team, which has scored at least 20 points in every game, has really ramped it up the last two weeks, averaging nearly 50 points per outing. On Friday the Bison swamped Warsaw 51-12 after racing to a 28-0 halftime lead.
It was the second straight Ozark Mountain Conference victory for the Bison, who are now 2-1 in league play and 3-2 overall. This Friday night, Sept. 28, the Bison will travel to Cole Camp, which has posted a 4-1 mark so far.
Buffalo will be trying to win its fourth game of the season for the first time in at least 15 years. If they beat Cole Camp, we will go into the archives to find out the last time they won four.
The opening quarter was scoreless, but Buffalo was in the middle of a long drive that started at its own 19-yard line after the defense held following a drive by Warsaw. The second period started with the Bison at the Warsaw 47 and quarterback Jamen Smith ran seven yard, 18 yards and finally 23 yards for the TD. Bode Abraham’s PAT kick made the score 7-0 with 10:05 left in the half.
Following the ensuing kickoff, Warsaw drove all the way to the Buffalo 22, but once again the defense held. A pass from Jamen Smith to Levi Phillips netted 28 yards to the 40, and another toss to Phillips was good for seven more. Bradley Hosiner then got loose wide left for 19 yards to the Wildcats’ 22. Two plays later, Coltin Henderson rambled 22 yards for a TD, and Abraham’s kick made it 14-0 at the 4:59 mark.
Offhand, you would think that Buffalo wouldn’t have time to score two more touchdowns before the half, but the defense rose to the occasion again. Warsaw was forced into a three-and-out, and the Wildcats’ punt went only six yards.
Henderson raced around the left side for 12 yards to the 19, and a few plays later he reached the end zone from six yards out for his second TD of the night. Needless to say, Abraham was money on his PAT kick for a 21-0 advantage with 1:50 left.
Warsaw committed seven turnovers in the game, and one of them took place when Abraham picked off a Warsaw pass, which set the Bison up once again at the Warsaw 41 with 1:11 left in the half. The Bison didn’t waste any time; following a five-yard penalty Jamen Smith found Layton Moody for a 46-yard touchdown pass play, and with Abraham’s kick the score was 28-0 at the half.
Late in the third quarter, Warsaw recovered a Bison fumble at Buffalo’s 23, and three plays later Kieon Davis ran 19 yards for a touchdown. On the two-point conversion attempt, Abraham flagged down the Warsaw pass for an interception.
Buffalo failed to score in the third quarter, but on the first play of the fourth, Abraham booted 19-yard field goal for a 31-7 lead. Less than two minutes later, however, Warsaw’s Davis ran the ball into the end zone from the 18. With 10:24 left in the game, it was 31-12.
The fourth quarter easily belonged to the Bison, though, as they outscored the visitors 20-0. A short kickoff gave Buffalo possession at its own 45, and it took the Bison only three plays to score. Jamen Smith ran wide right all the way to the Warsaw 22, and a penalty against the Cats put the ball at the 13. Keaton Rackley quickly ran the ball into the end zone, and it was 38-12.
Warsaw fumbled the ensuing kickoff, and Ethan Smith recovered at the Wildcats’ 25. Two plays later Jamen Smith saw Phillips race across the middle from the right side for a 13-yard TD pass play. Abraham’s kick made it 45-12 with 8:58 left in the game.
Buffalo actually scored two touchdowns on two plays from scrimmage, because on the next play Henderson intercepted a pass at the Warsaw eight and raced to the end zone. It was his third touchdown of the night and second interception.
“Coltin is really coming into his own as a running back,” Coach Ed Phillips said. “He’s always been a quarterback, but now he is running the ball well and doing a great job on defense.”
Due to a wayward snap, Abraham didn’t get a chance to kick, so the score was 51-12, and that’s the way the game ended.
“We played well both on offense and defense,” Coach Phillips said. “The defense played exceptionally well, causing seven turnovers — four in the fourth quarter.”
On offense the Bison had 239 yards and four TDs on the ground and 134 yards and two scores in the air. Jamen Smith completed nine of 12 passes for 134 yards and two touchdowns He also ran the ball 18 times for 123 yards and a TD.
Levi Phillips caught four passes for 42 yards and a TD while Moody grabbed three throws for 73 yards and a TD. Hosiner had one catch for seven yards and Henderson caught one pass for 12 yards.
Hosiner ran the ball six times for 47 yards and Henderson had six carries for 45 yards. Rackley had two carries for 16 yards and a TD.
Cole Bass recovered two fumbles and Ethan Smith recovered a kickoff ball.
On defense Ethan Smith led with 11 tackles, one sack, one fumble for loss and one fumble recovery. Rackley had nine tackles, one of them for a loss, as did Hosiner. Henderson had nine tackles and two interceptions. Abraham added four tackles and two interceptions. Bass had four tackles, one forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.
The Bison have a big challenge Friday night as they play at Cole Camp, which has a 4-1 record.
“Their only loss was to El Dorado Springs,” Coach Phillips said. “They don’t have any super stars, but they are a good tackling team and they do a lot of blitzes. They play a lot of pressure defense, so our offensive line will have to be ready.”