Cole, Buffington are The Daily Leader Players of the Week
Lawrence County’s Tae Cole and Bogue Chitto’s Tristan Buffington are this week’s Daily Leader Players of the Week.
Cole gets OPOW behind 3-TD night
Lawrence County senior running back Tae Cole has been biding his time over the last few seasons. Cole has been in for nearly every snap for the Cougars during that time but was mostly used as a blocking fullback in the LC split-back offense.
Now stepping into a role as the lead back, Cole is making his mark for the Cougars. Friday in a 36-27 win over Wesson he rushed 18 times for 236 yards and three scores.
For his efforts Cole has been named The Daily Leader Player of the Week.
Wesson led 20-0 at halftime as the Cougar offense found themselves stuck in a drought — having also not scored the previous week against Columbia.
Cole got LC on the board in the third quarter with a 32-yard scoring run. His 70-yard run later in the quarter gave the Cougars their first lead of the game.
In the fourth quarter Cole got his third score of the night, which put his team ahead for good.
Lawrence County only has four regular season games remaining on its schedule. In a season that was already shortened to nine games, the Cougars lost their opener to Pearl River Central due to a cancellation and also a game against region opponent Lanier who had their season canceled.
LC head coach Jesse Anderson said before the season he was looking for who would step into the role of playmaker for his Cougar who lost a 2,000-yard rusher last season to graduation. Cole has become that guy for LC.
“I hate the season has been cut short for him,” said Anderson. “He’d be another 2,000 yard-rusher for us — he’s the real deal.”
Being the real deal comes naturally for Cole as he watched his brother T-Tez make all types of big plays for Lawrence County during his career.
T-Tez Cole graduated from LC in 2016 and was the HBCU National Player of the Year last season for the Alcorn State baseball team.
Last season as a junior, Tae Cole rushed for 189 yards and two scores and as a sophomore, he went for 308 yards and one touchdown on the season.
He’s always been a leader on the LC defense playing as a linebacker that may walk down to the line as a defensive end or drop back into coverage like a safety.
Cole, Anderson and Lawrence County (1-2) open Region 6-4A play Friday by hosting Raymond (2-2) for homecoming.
2-interception game earns Buffington DPOW
With three defensive starters on the sideline injured, the Bogue Chitto coaches, players and fans knew that someone would have to step up Friday night against St. Patrick Catholic.
Senior defensive back Tristan Buffington was the man for the job, as he made five tackles and picked off a pair of passes in a tight 15-6 win. For his efforts, Buffington has been named The Daily Leader Defensive Player of the Week.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Buffington stands out when the Bobcats are assembled off the field as he’s the tallest Bobcat in the bunch. On the field he’s grown into a senior difference-maker for coach Gareth Sartin after playing plenty of snaps beginning as a skinny sophomore.
“He’s a good kid and a hard worker that gets along well with all his teammates,” said Sartin. “He has improved each year for us especially on defense and has a done a great job this year on the back end of our defense.”
There are a lot of 2A regions in Mississippi where teams may never face an opponent that throws the ball. That’s not the case in Region 7-2A though as defending division champs Wesson are known for airing the ball out.
Because of that, Sartin and his staff need people they can trust to make the correct decisions in the defensive secondary.
Buffington works as a free safety and roams the middle of the field like a centerfielder who hopes to read the eyes of the quarterback.
That’s exactly what he did on both interceptions against St. Patrick.
On the first pick, Buffington saw that the ball was underthrown and dove low to haul it into his body before it touched the turf.
The interception came down at the BC 30-yard line and gave the Bobcats the ball back just after they had suffered their first and only turnover of the night.
The second one was even more important, as St. Patrick was scrambling late to get back into the game after their first score cut the BC lead to 15-6.
Buffington went over the back of the shorter St. Pat player ala Randy Moss as he wrestled possession away from the falling receiver.
His backwards momentum actually caused Buffington to step into the endzone as the play happened on the BC 2-yard line.
After gathering himself, he was able to return the ball to the Bogue Chitto 35-yard line, a play that iced the first win of the season for the Bobcats.
Buffington also had a big night catching balls thrown by his own team as he hauled in three passes for 75 yards.
Bogue Chitto hits the road Friday when they take on Amite County in Liberty in the region opener for both teams.