WHITE — It took five plays and less than a minute and a half for Rome High to score on its first drive at Cass on Friday night.
The rest of the first half played out in similar fashion as the Wolves rolled to a 42-3 halftime lead before a running clock in the second half helped solidify a 49-10 win over their Region 7-5A foe on the road.
Quick offensive strikes and excellent field position gave Rome a jump start in the first half of the game, with the Wolves having possession for just 18 plays from scrimmage and 6 minutes, 7 seconds.
Senior running back Ahijah Blackwell, who has emerged as the main ball carrier for Rome, had 173 yards and three touchdowns on just 17 carries — an average of 10.2 yards per carry. His longest touchdown run came on a 16-yard carry in the second quarter as he broke free of one tackle and bulldozed his way over a Cass defender to get into the end zone.
A 45-yard run by Blackwell set up Rome’s second touchdown as EJ Burks scored his first of three TDs on a 3-yard scamper to end a three-play, 58-yard drive. Alonzo Rodriguez made the extra point, as he went on to go 7-for-7 on the night.
Burks tacked on a 27-yard touchdown on Rome’s third possession of the game to make it 21-3 heading into the second quarter. Adam Peterson’s 65-yard punt return for a touchdown was sandwiched between two drives capped by Blackwell touchdowns before halftime.
The Wolves (3-2, 2-1 7-5A) finished the game with 280 yards of offense — 253 of that on the ground — while Cass was held to 87 yards. The Colonels (3-2, 2-1) had just 38 yards of offense in the first half.
Four Cass drives in the first half were four-and-outs as Rome’s defense swarmed the Colonels’ backfield for most of the night. Cass had one drive extended by a roughing the kicker penalty on Rome during a punt only to turn the ball over on downs four plays later as the Colonels failed to convert on fourth-and-2.
Rome’s Nick Burge, Jorden Neal, Bryant Wilkinson and Simon Nguyen all had tackles for loss, and Tim Jones Jr. intercepted a pass by Cass’ Logan Nelson in the third quarter.
Cass’ lone first half score came on its second possession as Kaleb Speights hit a 29-yard field goal on fourth-and-seven. The drive began after Rome attempted an onside kick that was recovered by the Colonels to set up a short field.
Rome will return to Barron Stadium next Friday to host Woodland.