The young Wolves defeated Rockmart 6-0 on Dec. 17 in the Northwest Georgia Youth Football League 8U Division 1 Superbowl at Paulding County High School. The team has put up an impressive streak of 24-1 and two championships since joining the league just last year.
Head coach Seth Morgan and his group of assistant coaches have molded their young talent over the course of nine years, coaching in the local recreation league before combining Rome’s talent under one umbrella in 2017.
When making the jump to the NWGYFL, the idea was to create a feeder program for the Rome High School varsity team, and crafting a unified league made more sense than playing against one another throughout the season.
Morgan — along with DeMarcus Daniel, Derrick Spear, Derricus Dennis, John Melvin Gordon and Phelan Daniel — worked to create a team culture based on hard work for their 8U team, and that hard work does not end outside the lines. Coaches make visits to school on a regular basis to make sure their players are performing at a high level in the classroom, too.
The team’s accomplishments mimic the success of their “older brothers” who take the field on Friday nights at Barron Stadium. Head coach John Reid and the Wolves are in the midst of a playoff campaign for a possible third straight state championship.
This latest NWGYFL Superbowl came on the heels of a tough week at practice, one the kids are use to and the parents expect.
“We had some rainy weather during last week’s practice, so it was a good situation for us,” Morgan said. “The idea was to get them ready for what was ahead, and part of that is coaching the game plan regardless of what difficulties we may have faced. Rain or shine, we wanted our players to be ready to rock and roll.”
Morgan said that his players’ parents have bought into the program, and this helps him and his assistants to be successful.
“One of the key things we try to instill in our kids is confidence. We want them to believe in themselves,” Morgan said. “Some of our players are missing that love from a father figure and many of them have the support of their fathers. However, we feel like we can never put enough love into their development on and off the field. We have found that if we put our hearts into our kids first, they will give you everything they’ve got in return.”
President of the RYFO, DeMarcus Daniel, echoed Morgan when he spoke about the entire organization’s accomplishments.
“We had seven total teams this year, and of those seven teams, six qualified for the playoffs. All six of those teams qualified for the semifinals and three of the six competed for the Superbowl in their age division,” Daniel said. “I am happy to say that our complaints are down and the unity is as strong as ever for Rome City Schools’ athletics.”
Daniel spoke about the social skills he has seen develop by having groups of students working together over long periods of time. These same soft skills translate to the classroom and Daniel said they hope will carry on to their professional careers.
“Coach Reid and his staff can tell you the names of kids who are 7 and 8 years old, and that is what we hoped to accomplish,” Daniel added. “The high school and middle school are great when it comes to supporting our youth teams. Our coaches attend their practices and we try to apply what they are teaching when we are on the field. Our kids are already familiar with Rome’s varsity schemes and practice techniques.”
Daniel said he is encouraged by the pride he and his coaches — many of whom are graduates of Rome High — see across the board in Rome City Schools.
“It was never just about winning,” Daniel said with a satisfied smile. “We wanted to create a culture of togetherness among our entire Rome City Schools community. I am so thankful for our volunteer coaches, the support of our parents and our extraordinary kids.”