It feels odd saying this with Thanksgiving less than a week away, but football season is over.

In the span of less than 24 hours, the remaining high school teams we cover in the Greater Rome area lost in the second round of the GHSA state playoffs and Berry College ended up on the short end of a 27-24 final against Huntingdon in the first round of the NCAA playoffs..

As cliche as it is, it did seem to happen “just like that.”

We’ve grown accustomed to following our local football teams deep into the playoffs in recent years. It’s just become a foregone conclusion in my mind when November rolls around that we’ll continue to go to practices and talk to coaches at least through the first of December.

This year was no different.

A Rome High team emerged from a tough season-opening loss and silenced those who questioned how the Wolves would counter the graduation of so many playmakers.

Darlington continued its consistent success under head coach Tommy Atha and found grit and determination against a series of tough opponents.

The Rockmart Yellow Jackets continued to be a force in Region 7-AA, winning a third-straight region title and going 25-2 over the last two seasons.

Pepperell proved to have a rich bench to pull from as it found new ways to confound opponents every week with some of the top players in the region in nearly every capacity.

The talent on the field was just as rich as it’s ever been in Northwest Georgia, but the postseason is a fickle thing. One bad snap, missed tackle or injured player can change a team’s fortune and put their season on the line in the blink of an eye.

After witnessing the emotions shown by players on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, it reminds one of the heart and passion that goes into preparing to play just four quarters a week. If anything, I hope those whose senior seasons have been cut short will keep that with them as they go forward in life.

Most local football teams went into the weekend not thinking that it was going to be their last time playing together this season. However, a trio of teams knew the season would come to an end, and they made sure to make it the best ending they could.

Rome Middle School’s sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade squads all won their divisions’ Georgia Middle School Athletic Association state championships on Saturday at Harrison High School in Kennesaw.

The sixth-grade team defeated Sprayberry 52-0 as they completed the season only giving up a total of six points. The seventh-grade team shut out Harrison 42-0, and the eighth-grade team won 36-6 over Centennial.

So as this past weekend marked the end of some remarkable careers on the local gridiron, it also gave the future of the sport another firm footing going forward.

But there is still plenty to dissect and discuss about football as it pertains to area schools, as well as the opportunity to get a good look at local basketball teams before the annual Christmas Tournament.

And I’m sure weight rooms around the region will be a hub of offseason activity in no time to begin preparing for the 2020 season.

Jeremy Stewart is the Rome News-Tribune sports editor. He can be reached at 706-290-5254 and by email at JStewart@RN-T.com.

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