That focus was on display Friday night at Barron Stadium as the Wolves combined a blistering offense with a stifling defense to defeat Jackson-Atlanta 62-14 in the opening round of the Class 5A state playoffs. No. 1 Rome rolled up 515 yards of offense while holding its opponent to 139 yards.
“It’s just a step,” Reid said. “Our goal is to just advance. Whether you win 62-14 or you advance by 14-13, it’s still an advance. There’s still 16 teams left in 5A football now, and our goal next week is to be one of the eight left.”
Rome (11-0) will host Cedar Shoals in the Sweet 16 next Friday at Barron Stadium. Cedar Shoals, the No. 2 team from Region 8-5A, shut out Lithonia 41-0 on Friday.
The Wolves scored early and often, leading to a 48-0 halftime advantage thanks to a four-touchdown performance from North Carolina State commit Jamious Griffin. The senior scored on runs of 1, 2, 15 and 75 yards and finished with 233 yards on the ground, all in the first half.
Xavier Roberts-Donaldson backed up Griffin in the ground game with 93 yards on three carries. Quarterback Knox Kadum was 4 of 6 through the air for 32 yards, and rushed for an 18-yard touchdown in the second quarter to put the Wolves up 35-0.
Rome chased down the visiting Jaguars on defense throughout the night, forcing two turnovers in the first half which resulted in touchdowns. Marquis Glanton intercepted Jackson-Atlanta quarterback Charles Daniels in the first quarter, and the Wolves’ defense forced a Jaguars’ fumble in the second quarter that was recovered by Nick Burge.
Traceton Lawrence then ran for a touchdown from 18 yards out on the very next play to give Rome a 42-0 lead with 7:51 left in the first half. Lawrence also scored on a 1-yard run just before halftime to make the score 48-0.
The Wolves’ special teams also got in on the scoring when Derricus Smith forced a fumble on the kickoff to open the second half. Jamar Roberts recovered the ball and ran it in for a score to put the Wolves up 55-0.
Coming off a bye week to close out the regular season didn’t seem to slow the Wolves down at all.
“I think we did a great job preparing over the last two weeks,” Reid said. “It’s tough toward the end of the year to have a rhythm and then kind of lose it, so I was proud of our guys in a playoff situation against a team that’s won more than they’ve lost, to do that in the first half.”
Jackson-Atlanta (6-5) scored twice in the third quarter, both under a running clock, but never threatened to close in on Rome’s lead.
The win was the 38th in a row for the Wolves, a streak that gives them the record for longest win streak in Rome City Schools history, surpassing the mark set by West Rome from 1981-84. Griffin also set the season rushing record for Rome City Schools with 2,255 yards, breaking the record set by East Rome’s Greg Gordon in 1977.