The Georgia High School Association state football playoffs are quickly reaching their conclusion, and a trio of Greater Rome teams find themselves in the Final Four of their respective classifications going up against some familiar adversaries.
Rome travels to Middle Georgia on Friday for a contest at Warner Robins, while Rockmart continues its season by hosting Callaway. Both matchups are rematches of games from last year’s postseason.
No. 1 Rome (13-0) will return to McConnell-Talbert Stadium on Friday to face No. 3 Warner Robins in the Class 5A semifinals after defeating the Demons 38-0 to capture its second straight state championship last December.
Last year’s title game was moved from Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium to the “Mac” after a call by the GHSA postponed the championship games because of inclement weather and safety concerns on the originally scheduled day. A coin toss determined that Warner Robins would host the final.
This time around, the Demons (11-2) were granted hosting duties because of another coin toss, but one that is part of the normal routine of the GHSA playoffs. The universal coin toss held last Tuesday set the host team for the semifinals in the event both teams are the same seed.
The toss landed on tails so the team on the bottom of the bracket hosts. And since Rome and Warner Robins each won their region and are No. 1 seeds in GHSA’s system, the Demons had the winning position in the Class 5A bracket.
After the Wolves picked up a 28-14 road win over No. 4 Dutchtown in the quarterfinals, Rome head coach John Reid explained to his team that they will prepare to take on any challenge, no matter where they have to go. He later expressed frustration about having to travel, bringing up the fact that Rome is undefeated and Warner Robins has two losses.
“I mean we’re the defending state champs and yet, we’ve got to go on the road, which we’re going to take and relish it and make it to our advantage I think. So we’ll work on doing a great job with that,” Reid said.
“As long as you’re a-playin’ it don’t matter where, I guess.”
Rockmart (13-0) didn’t have to rely on a coin toss to decide where it will get to play its first state semifinal in 30 years. The No. 2-ranked Jackets are the No. 1 seed out of Region 7-AA, while No. 4 Callaway (11-2) has reached the Final Four as the No. 2 seed from Region 5-AA.
The two former region opponents met in the second round last year when Callaway edged the Jackets 40-35 to end head coach Biff Parson’s second season at Rockmart.
The Cavaliers have won the last seven meetings between the two teams, according to the Georgia High School Football Historians Association, with Rockmart winning 28-2 in 2006 in their first matchup.
Rockmart defeated quarterfinal opponent Jefferson County 48-13 in Louisville on Friday, while Callaway got a 35-20 win over Washington County. The Cavaliers posted an upset in the second round by pulling away for a 31-13 win over top-ranked and defending state champion Hapeville Charter.