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PREP FOOTBALL: Rome recognized in HSFA Preseason rankings

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John Reid

Rome High head football coach John Reid and the Wolves enter the 2018 season after winning back-to-back state championships. / File-Jeremy Stewart

The two-time defending state champions in Class 5A are ranked No. 50.

The Wolves will face another team in the rankings when they open the season on Aug. 16 against Marietta, which is ranked No. 57, in the second game of the Corky Kell Classic.

“It’s going to be a huge challenge for us,” Rome coach John Reid said in January, during a news conference for the Corky Kell Classic games in Rome. “(Marietta is) a heck of an opponent to kick off the year. It’s going to be a good challenge for our kids and our program.”

Marietta will find out early as to whether it will stay in the top 100 for the whole season. The Blue Devils will face five teams in the HSFA ranking, including three in the top 10 — Grayson, No. 7 Good Counsel (Maryland), No. 9 St. John’s College (Washington, D.C.) — as well as Rome and archrival McEachern.

“When I interviewed for the (Marietta) job, I said we’d be on a national level by the third year, and here we are,” Marietta coach Richard Morgan said. “To do it, you have to take on this kind of challenge. For me, everything is a positive.”

Morgan said the challenge of Marietta’s schedule is something that can help the Blue Devils get through some of the long summer and fall practices that can begin to wear on a team.

“It makes the practices better, and it helps keep everyone focused,” Morgan said. “Knowing that you have to be at the top of your game each week, these are the things you can remind the kids of.”

In all, nine Georgia teams ranked in the top 100.

“Preseason recognition is nice,” Morgan said, “but, at the same time, it’s preseason recognition. It’s good for the kids to get some national attention.”

California powerhouse Mater Dei was No. 1, with Allen (Texas), Grayson, St. John Bosco (California) and IMG Academy (Florida) rounding out the top five.

For the complete list of the top 100, visit www.highschoolfootballamerica.com.