Wolves quarterback Knox Kadum and receiver Xavier Roberts-Donaldson connected on seven passes for 190 yards and two touchdowns to help No. 1 Rome to complete a 35-3 victory Friday night at Barron Satdium, sending Rome to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state playoffs for the third straight year.
Kadum was 9 of 14 for 204 yards passing and ran for a score on top of the two touchdown passes to Roberts-Donaldson as the Wolves rolled up 509 yards of offense.
“What happens is if you take away, for example Jamious, then you get Knox, and obviously you’ll see as we get into the playoffs Knox becomes a bigger factor,” Rome head coach John Reid said.
Even with the Jaguars’ defense focusing on Griffin, the North Carolina State commit still managed 169 yards, including a 17-yard touchdown run, on 20 carries for an average of 8.5 yards per carry.
Kadum got his team on the scoreboard in the first quarter on a 2-yard yard run for a 7-0 score after the Jaguars held the Wolves (12-0) to a four-and-out on their opening possession of the game. The senior then connected with Roberts-Donaldson on a 39-yard touchdown pass with 4:42 left in the first half for a 21-3 score, and a 20-yard pass with 4:52 left in the third quarter to put the Wolves up 28-3.
Roberts-Donaldson said they were expecting the Jaguars (8-4) to put most of their focus on Griffin.
“We had planned for it,” he said. “We executed it and played well, and then the offensive line protected Knox so I could get the ball, and when I got it, I just made plays.”
Traceton Lawrence scored the final touchdown of the night for the Wolves on a 12-yard run just before the end of the third quarter.
Reid said another big win is good for morale, but there’s always another challenge ahead. The Wolves will have to head out on the road next Friday to face No. 4-ranked Dutchtown (12-0), which defeated Griffin 28-7 on Friday.
“You can’t just think you’re going to walk through the playoffs. Not in this state and not with the good quality teams that are out there,” Reid said. “Every game is not a state championship. You can’t win the final one unless you win the third-round one. You have to play those teams somehow, and we’ve got a tough draw looking at us.”
Rome’s defense kept Cedar Shoals out of the end zone all night and held the team to 166 yards of offense. The Jaguars’ only score came on a 32-yard Gabe Bush field goal with 5:02 left in the second quarter. Derricus Smith led the defense with six tackles. DeKerion Jones had two interceptions on defense — one of which led to a touchdown — and Jamar Roberts had a pick as well.
The Jaguars suffered a blow in the first quarter when quarterback Kiyonnice Smith scrambled for a 14-yard gain but was injured on the play. The senior, who had thrown for just under 1,000 yards this season, didn’t return and was replaced by sophomore Greg Huggs.