The Rome Wolves (3-3, 2-1 Region 5-AAAAAA) scored touchdowns on their opening drives of both halves and consistently won the battle at the line of scrimmage — on both sides of the ball — during a 24-8 victory at Dalton Friday.
Freshman Shaun Nelson accounted for all three of Rome’s touchdowns, two on the ground and one receiving.
“It’s remarkable that Nelson was playing eighth-grade football last season and could step in with such aplomb Friday,” Wolves head coach John Reid said. “It’s tough to take on that responsibility as a freshman, but I’m really proud of him.”
Nelson credited his offensive line for clearing the runway for him — he often was untouched until he was at least five yards beyond the line of scrimmage — and added, “It felt good out there.”
The Catamounts (1-4, 0-3 Region 5-AAAAAA) failed to generate much of a running game, only scoring their touchdown with scarcely more than four minutes left in the game, and they hurt themselves with several penalties and two turnovers.
Playing their first home game since Sept. 4, Dalton had to punt from its own 2-yard line on its opening possession due to penalties and an ineffective series of downs.
Rome took over at Dalton’s 40, and Nelson ripped off 26 yards on the first two plays. On fourth-and-5 from the 21, freshman quarterback Reece Fountain moved the sticks with a completion to Jay Wise, and Nelson later ran in from the 3 to put the Wolves ahead 7-0.
Late in the second quarter, the Wolves kept their offense on the field for a fourth-and-1 at Dalton’s 5, but a delay of game penalty forced a field goal attempt, and Fernando Lopez-Romero hit the left upright, keeping it a one-score game at the break.
Early in the third quarter, Rome marched 80 yards in just under four minutes, capping the drive with a 7-yard screen pass to Nelson. On the ensuing drive, Journey Boston fumbled, and Rome took possession at midfield, eventually scoring a 24-yard field goal by Lopez-Romero, making it 17-0 Wolves.
In the final frame, Nelson closed Rome’s scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run with 5:36 remaining.
Rome is back home to battle East Paulding on Friday, Oct. 23, at Barron Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.