Griffin’s performance included scoring runs of 47 and 49 yards, and the North Carolina State commit also caught a 69 yard touchdown in the second half of the Region 7-5A opener for both teams.
“It was a combination of three things” Rome coach John Reid said. “(Griffin) ran well, our offensive line opened things up, and our coaches had a great game plan.”
Griffin scored on his first touch of the game, a 47-yard touchdown on a run straight through the middle of the Kell defense to give Rome a 7-0 lead with 9:27 left in the first quarter. Griffin again found the end zone early in the second quarter on a 49-yard carry, again on the first play of a possession. This time, the run put Rome ahead 21-0 with 10 minutes left before halftime.
No. 8 Kell (2-1, 0-1 7-5A) got on the scoreboard before the break with an 8-yard pass from Evan Conley to Isaiah Cruz, cutting the deficit to 21-6, where it would stand at the intermission.
Heavy storms in the area caused lightning delays that extended halftime to over an hour, and Kell tried to manufacture some momentum when the second half resumed. The Longhorns successfully recovered an onside kick, but failed to convert on the ensuing possession on fourth-and-2 at the Rome 8-yard line.
“We made some mistakes that you can’t make if you want to beat a great football team” Kell coach Brett Sloan said. “We got in the red zone two or three times and didn’t come away with points. You can’t do those things against teams as good as that.”
What could have been a one-score game was suddenly a three-score game on the following drive when Griffin found the end zone for the third time on a 14-yard carry to cap a 92-yard drive for a 28-6 Rome lead. Griffin also had a 32-yard run during the possession.
Rome quarterback Knox Kadum threw for 98 yards and two touchdowns, including a 24-yard strike to Xavier Roberts-Donaldson in the first quarter.
Conley finished the game 21-for-32 passing for 205 yards, and also led the Longhorns in rushing with 49 yards on nine carries.
Rome (3-0, 1-0) returns to Barron Stadium next week to face Carrollton in another region matchup.