Game: No. 7 Rome (2-1, 1-0) at No. 3 Carrollton (3-0, 1-0)
Last meeting: Rome won 65-51 (Sept. 14, 2018)
All-time series: Rome leads 3-2
On the air: WRGA-AM 1470, FM 98.7
The Rome High sideline erupted into celebration after Kell’s last-second field goal missed its target last Friday night in the Wolves’ 21-20 win at Barron Stadium.
But Rome head coach John Reid knew they would have to get back to work quickly if they were going to make their first Region 7-5A win of the season count towards something bigger.
With a trip to Carrollton this week to face the No. 3 Trojans on Friday, No. 7 Rome will go up against its third top-ten ranked opponent in four games and try to extend the Wolves’ three-game winning streak in the series.
“I think the kids know the task at hand,” Reid said. “With our schedule, it’s one of the toughest in the state through the first four games.
“We’re in a tough region. You come back to practice and you work your tail off.”
Rome’s first true away game of the season will find them in Carrollton’s Grisham Stadium for the first time in three years as the Wolves take on an undefeated Trojan team that has been one of the bigger obstacles in winning three straight region titles.
“They’re a big, strong, tradition-rich program. They want to beat us and know what is at stake,” Reid said. “All of us know if we can get wins over Kell and Carrollton here early on it gives us a huge leg up. I’m sure the whole region is rooting for Carrollton.”
Carrollton (3-0, 1-0 7-5A) held Villa Rica to 52 yards of total offense in last week’s 23-2 win. Clemson commit Kevin Swint had three tackles for loss for 10 yards, while Carrollton was held to 179 yards of total offense.
“Obviously with Kell and Carrollton and Rome, I guess we’re up at the top right now because of solid defense and good solid execution,” Reid said. “So we’re going to have to buckle down, and try to move the ball and not have any three-and-outs, because that’s what kept our defense out there last time. And we had a quick-strike offense, so it was the worst of both cases.”
Rome got a boost on defense against Kell from senior linebacker Nick Burge, who recorded 18 solo tackles and four assists in the game. Reid said the improvement on defense has been noticeable and that they have put their conditioning to good use by staying healthy so far.
“I think they’re getting better every day,” Reid said of the defense, which has been highlighted by Burge, Bryson Hill and Bryant Wilkinson. “You could see them grow up as the game went on and we expect to be better this week. We strive to get that shutout and do it every week.”
— Jeremy Stewart