All around, it was a positive start for the Rockmart Yellow Jackets in their season opener.
With Javin Whatley — a running back converted to quarterback this year — as the leader of the offense, the Jackets are looking strong as they head into this week’s home opener against Central Carroll.
After all, Whatley was responsible for all the scoring for the Jackets with exception of a field goal during Rockmart’s 31-12 win last week over Cedartown. So likely, he’ll be the star of the show when the Lions come to play this Friday night.
“You get someone like that, he brings a whole new dimension to the offense,” Jackets head coach Biff Parson said after the game.
However, the whole team will be involved in the effort to get to two wins on the season and get back into contention for a state title.
“We’re hungry,” Parson said. “We’ve got a bad taste in our mouth. We got to the dance, but we didn’t finish the dance. We didn’t dip the old girl and give her a kiss, and that’s what we’ve got to do this year.”
He added that “it’s a long year, and a long ways away.”
Right now, Parson said the team’s focus is getting players healthy and in better shape as the season progresses. They’ll be relying on help from others in the offense like Jai Penson, Kelan Pitts, Juke Boozer and more to bring about another victory for Rockmart this week.
Parson isn’t worried about how officials might play into games as the season progresses, especially after several calls he believed were questionable against Rockmart.
“We’re going to play regardless,” Parson said. “We aren’t going to let officials dictate the outcome. Through our drive and our passion, and by setting the standard for four quarters, we’re going to keep coming out on top.”
Central Carroll comes into Friday’s game with a 1-0 record as well, topping South Atlanta in their opener at home last week with a 33-8 win. Darius Smiley’s record against the Jackets is 0-1 after last year’s 51-7 loss to the Jackets on their home turf.
The Lions have a historical 5-16 advantage over the Jackets.
They’ll look to senior quarterback Kashif Taylor to make an impact against the Jackets, along with senior running back Shane Bruce and junior Narada Levett to push against Rockmart’s defense.
Which won’t be an easy feat. Last week, the Jackets gave up only 165 yards of total defense on the night against Cedartown.
Kickoff this Friday is at 7:30 p.m. at Rockmart, which should also have their new press box installed and up and running just in time for the Jackets’ home opener.