Rome and Marietta’s quarterbacks dueled it out Thursday in the Corky Kell Classic as Harrison Bailey found Blue Devil receiver Ramel Keyton four times in the end zone and Knox Kadum worked against the Devil defense to keep his team afloat.
The two-time Class 5A state champion Wolves were able to hold off the Blue Devils 51-41 in the season opener for both teams as Kadum carried the Wolves to the win, hitting Roberts-Donaldson twice in the end zone, and going 13 of 19 for 218 yards. Bailey finished with 443 yards, going 36 of 51 and six touchdowns. The win was the 28th straight for the Wolves.
Bailey had one last chance in the fourth quarter to lead his team to victory when the Blue Devils recovered a fumble on the Wolves’ 23-yard line. Bailey threw three incompletions before hitting Gilbert for a first down. Bailey then hit Gilbert again, but Rome’s Marquis Glanton forced a fumble near the goaline and the ball was picked up by Quavantae Holmes to seal the win for Rome.
Rome (1-0) went down early to the Blue Devils within the first two minutes of the game, but the Wolves went ahead in the second quarter and never relinquished the lead.
Rome’s Jamious Griffin finished with 162 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries. Roberts-Donaldson had seven catches for 144 yards.
Rome pulled away from Marietta (0-1) in the second quarter after the Blue Devils failed to convert on a fourth down, giving the ball to Rome on its own 29-yard line. Rome got down to the
5-yard line and Griffin punched it in, but the touchdown was called back on a holding penalty, and the Wolves were eventually sent back to the 16-yard line. Penalties marred the game for both teams with Rome racking up 22 penalties for 185 yards and Marietta with 14 for 104 yards.
Griffin was given another chance to score as Kadum hit him in the end zone for a 16-yard score, giving the Wolves a 21-7 lead.
The Blue Devils put together their best drive of the first half when they pulled within eight points of the Wolves on an 18-yard pass from Bailey to Ramel Keyton for his second touchdown of the night. The drive saw the Blue Devils get four first downs, but ended with Marietta kicker Cooper Kipp missing the extra-point attempt making the score 21-13. Keyton’s first score of the game came when the Blue Devils were facing a third-and-6 on their opening drive, when Bailey hit Keyton down the visitor’s sideline for a 61-yard touchdown to cap a six-play drive. Keyton finished with four touchdowns for the Blue Devils and had 191 receiving yards on 14 catches.
Marietta started gaining some momentum in the second half when Keyton scored third touchdown of the game on a 34-yard score, bring the Blue Devils within 10 points.
Rome extended its lead in the fourth with a when Griffin scored his fourth touchdown of the game on 3-yard rush for a 51-34 score.
Following an off week, the Wolves will return to Barron Stadium on Aug. 31 to host North Clayton. Marietta hosts Our Lady of Good Counsel next Friday.