Game: Rockmart (0-0) at Cedartown (0-0)
Last meeting: Rockmart won 20-14 (Aug. 17, 2018)
All-time series: Cedartown leads 50-22-2
On the air: WGAA FM 106.1; WZOT FM 101.9
One of the oldest rivalries in Northwest Georgia gets renewed this week with both teams full of anticipation for what could lie ahead.
The Rockmart Yellow Jackets will make the journey west on U.S. 278 Friday for their annual football game against the Cedartown Bulldogs to kick off the 2019 season.
“It’s always a big thing when you play Rockmart,” Cedartown head coach Doyle Kelley said.
“They call it the Polk County Championship and it’s a big game for Cedartown just as it is a big game for Rockmart. I think both teams will be evenly matched, just like they were last year, and it will be a good ball game. Both teams have got some really good players who should be fun to watch.”
Rockmart comes to Cedartown for the 75th edition of the game after last year’s last-second 20-14 win by the Yellow Jackets ended a seven-game winning streak for the Bulldogs.
Though the game doesn’t count toward region standings, it does give both team bragging rights and helps set the tempo for games to come. Hot off the heels of a Cedartown win in 2018, Rockmart went undefeated and advanced to the Class AA state championship game against Heard County.
Though Rockmart graduated a number of players off of their state finals team, the Jackets come into 2019 reloaded and will utilize the talents of 2018 wingback Javin Whatley under center along with a backfield loaded with talented players like seniors Reed Couch and Juke Boozer.
Cedartown on the other hand has their own backfield ready to run led by senior Kobe Pryor, who is committed to Clemson, as well as quarterback Taji Hudson who is heading to East Carolina.
“It’s always going to be a battle. It’s not going to be a lopsided game. It will be a four-quarter game,” Rockmart head coach Biff Parson said. “They are very talented with two very good running backs and a good quarterback and they’re solid up front.”
Cedartown comes into the season with 16 seniors who return for Doyle Kelly’s third season as head coach, including senior receiver and linebacker Chadriq Neal, and lineman Will Pilgrim.
“We have a lot of guys that make things happen, and I’m blessed to have so many good players,” Kelley said. “We’re looking forward to it.”
Parson, who begins his fourth season at the helm of the Jackets, said they are aware of how dynamic Cedartown’s offense can be and will look to avoid mistakes.
“We’re expected to be Rockmart and that’s all we can be,” Parson said. “We want to be sound in every facet of the game and be really good on offense, defense and special teams. We can’t give up the big plays and we have to create some turnovers.”
— Staff reports