It didn’t matter if it was a pitch to the left, a screen pass to the right or a run right up the gut, in their final regular season game the Rome Wolves could call any play in the book, because they all seemed to work.
Rome scored on their first seven drives and used a 55-point first half to dominate Woodland on the way to a 62-0 Region 7-5A victory Friday night at Barron Stadium. The win gives Rome its first undefeated regular season since 2004, and pushes the team’s winning streak to 22 straight games.
“We were worried about a letdown tonight and trying to figure out how you approach this game,” Reid said. “I’m just really pleased in our overall effort, it wasn’t lethargic or a letdown. I’m proud of them for that, now we’re on to another part of the season.”
Rome’s offensive starters only played the first half, but quarterback Knox Kadum still went 4-for-5 for 124 passing yards and three touchdowns.
Jalynn Sykes racked up 102 rushing yards and a score, while Xavier Roberts-Donaldson tallied a pair of touchdowns.
In all, a season-high eight different Rome players scored in the game.
The Wolves (10-0, 8-0 7-5A) scored on the fifth play from scrimmage on an 11-yard touchdown run from Jamious Griffin. After forcing a Woodland three-and-out, Rome took three plays on its second drive as Kadum found Rodney Sullivan for a 14-yard score.
Another Kadum touchdown pass made it 21-0 in the first quarter, and a Sykes 17-yard touchdown run to begin the second made it 28-0. Only minutes later, Roberts-Donaldson gave the offense a break and took a punt 65 yards to the house.
“It’s all a combination of execution and play-calling,” Sykes said. “We practice all week for this, and we’re serious about it. It’s Woodland, they’re just like any other region team so we are going to give it everything we have.”
In the first quarter, the Rome defense held Woodland to -21 yards of offense, and only allowed two first downs in the entire half. Those struggles quickly led to punts, and eventually a short field for Rome’s offense to work with.
The Wildcats (3-7, 2-6) were running the Wing-T formation, a run-heavy formation Rome had not seen much of all season. But Rome still wreaked havoc on the offense all night, including a Trai Hodges interception returned for a touchdown in the second quarter.
“That took an immense amount of work in film study,” Reid said. “We probably walked through and ran their best play series 200 times per side this week. So we came prepared and our guys were just able to get around the ball.”
The second half featured a running clock, with Rome’s Stepheno Alston scoring the only touchdown of the half on an 11-yard run.
Rome begins the Class 5A state playoffs and its defense of its state title in earnest next week when it hosts Cedar Shoals. The Jaguars finished fourth in Region 8-5A and are making their first playoff appearance since 2008.