Game: Hiram (5-2, 5-0) at No. 6 Rome (6-2, 5-1)
Last meeting: Rome 56, Hiram 0 (Oct. 19, 2018)
All-time series: Rome leads 9-0
On the air: WRGA-AM 1470, FM 98.7
With two games left in the regular season, Rome High head coach John Reid isn’t too concerned if his team hasn’t quite peaked yet.
That’s because the Wolves’ season will more than likely continue past their final two scheduled contests and into to the Class 5A state playoffs.
“We’re a work in progress, hopefully, which is kind of odd to say with only a couple of games left in the regular season, but I think the expectations are to continue to make rounds,” Reid said. “So we’ve got to win Friday to make that happen and get us a good seed in the playoffs.”
The sixth-ranked Wolves will host Hiram on Friday night for their final home game of the regular season as Rome tries to stay as close to the top of the Region 7-5A standings as possible.
Aside from Rome’s season-opening loss to Marietta, the Wolves’ only other loss of the season came on the road five weeks ago at the hands of Carrollton. Reid said the loss still haunts some of the players and the Region 7-5A standings might have a different look had the Wolves come out on top.
“They still reflect back on some mistakes they made in Carrollton, but I think they’ve improved since then,” Reid said. “They gave up some things in Carrollton where we would have the lead.”
Hiram opened the season with two straight losses before winning the next five straight contests and they haven’t dropped a region game yet.
Hiram and Carrollton are both undefeated in region play, while Rome sits just behind them in the 7-5A standings at 5-1.
“They’re tied for Carrollton for the region lead, so enough said,” Reid said. “Our kids should understand it. In this region, if you’re sitting at the top in October, then you’re pretty good. Any time you’ve won five in a row, their defense is playing good, their practices are better. You’ve got a tough team coming in.”
Last week against Paulding County, Rome’s defense battled through a tough Patriot squad but came out on top, while the offense ran wild. Ahijah Blackwell rushed for 141 yards and two touchdowns while breaking the 1000-yard milestone for the season. Through the air, Caleb Ellard was 4-of-5 for 115 passing yards and a touchdown.
Hiram is coming off a 42-3 win against Villa Rica, but their streak of wins has come against teams that have a total of nine combined wins on the season.
Playing for the second straight week at Barron Stadium, Reid said his team is always excited to compete in front of their home crowd.
“We have a great atmosphere over there on Friday nights,” Reid said. “I was looking at some pictures of the kids running through the Wolf, and I take it for granted, but that’s got to be really exciting. Our kids are always excited for a home game.”
— Jonathan Blaylock