By Kai Raymer (for Ozarks Sports Zone)
BUFFALO, Mo. — It’s hard to game plan for the Buffalo offense, because the Bison admittedly don’t have a specific identity.
Spread. Power. Misdirection.
It can change drive-to-drive, quarter-to-quarter or half-to-half.
“We don’t have our own thing; we just do a little bit of everything,” said Buffalo quarterback Jamen Smith.
As Logan-Rogersville and other teams have found out, the Bison thrive on mixing things up.
Buffalo, behind five total touchdowns from Smith, put up another big-time offensive performance Friday night.
The Bison tallied over 400 yards of total offense – 300 on the ground – in a 49-28 victory over Logan-Rogersville in the Class 3 District 5 semifinals. The outcome marks Buffalo’s first win against the Wildcats in over a decade.
Playing on a muddy field on a cold night, Buffalo’s offense didn’t falter.
After fumbling the game’s opening kickoff, the Bison scored on six of their seven ensuing possessions. The Bison (9-2 overall) have scored 41 or more points in all but two games this season, both of which were losses.
“We want to do this every night,” said Buffalo coach Ed Phillips. “We were very happy with how we played and excited for what we did offensively.”
Smith, a junior, led the way. Behind an all-senior offensive line, he ran for 175 yards and three touchdowns, threw for 110 yards and a touchdown, and also returned a 93-yard kickoff for a touchdown.
“He’s a special player,” Phillips said. “We have a lot of special players. I’m proud of them.”
Buffalo plays at Blair Oaks next Friday in the District 12 title game. The Falcons (11-0 overall) are the defending Class 2 state champions and have allowed eight or fewer points in eight straight games.
“This is why you work so hard in the weight room and the offseason: So we can play for a district championship against a great football team,” Phillips said. “It’s a great opportunity for us.”
Logan-Rogersville, trailing 28-14 at halftime, got within 28-21 late in the third quarter on a 23-yard touchdown pass from backup quarterback JJ O’Neal to Adam Waters.
Buffalo answered, going 62 yards in 10 plays and scoring on Smith’s 2-yard touchdown run.
Logan-Rogersville, down 14 with under 10 minutes remaining, then faced a 4th and 7 from its own 32. The Wildcats went for it, but Buffalo’s defense forced a turnover on downs with a sack.
Led by seniors Hunter Crandall and Pete Herrera, Buffalo’s defense tallied five sacks.
Smith then capped a brief three-play, 23-yard drive with a nine-yard touchdown run that put the Bison ahead for good, 42-21.
He also made a game-changing play in the first half with a 93-yard kickoff return after Logan-Rogersville had tied the game at 14 apiece.
“As soon as I caught it, I saw green grass and knew I was gone,” Smith said.
Logan-Rogersville, decimated by injuries to its skill-position players, finishes 3-8 overall. O’Neal, a sophomore, led the Wildcats with 127 rushing yards and two touchdowns.
Buffalo improved to 9-2 overall. The Bison have tallied 18 wins since 2018, nearly doubling their combined win total (10) from the prior eight seasons.
“This is what we’ve been preparing for since we were little kids,” Smith said. “All of our parents and everyone would say, ‘We’re going to turn Buffalo Football around.’”
Buffalo 49, Logan-Rogersville 28
Logan-Rogersville 7 7 7 7 — 28
Buffalo 7 21 0 21 — 49
Logan-Rogersville – O’Neal 6 run (Revels kick)
Buffalo – Henderson 16 run (Abraham kick)
Buffalo – Jaren Smith 9 run (Abraham kick)
Logan-Rogersville – O’Neal 43 run (Revels kick)
Buffalo – Jamen Smith 93 kickoff return (Abraham kick)
Buffalo – Jamen Smith 1 run (Abraham kick)
Logan-Rogersville – Waters 23 catch from O’Neal (Revels kick)
Buffalo – Jamen Smith 2 run (Abraham kick)
Buffalo – Jamen Smith 9 run (Abraham kick)
Buffalo – Abraham 7 catch from Jamen Smith (Abraham kick)
Passing: O’Neal 7-for-15 for 68 yards, 2 TDs
Rushing: O’Neal 18 carries for 127 yards, 2 TDs; Christian 10 carries for 63 yards
Receiving: Craft 3 catches for 29 yards; Waters 1 catch for 23 yards, 1 TD
Passing: Jamen Smith 8-for-16 for 110 yards, 1 TD
Rushing: Jamen Smith 22 carries for 175 yards, 3 TDs; Jaren Smith 5 carries for 62 yards, 1 TD; Henderson 8 carries for 36 yards, 1 TD
Receiving: Portis 2 catches for 42 yards; Abraham 2 catches for 22 yards, 1 TD; Henderson 2 catches for 16 yards