The Rome Wolves offense scored seven points in 48 minutes two weeks ago against East Paulding.
Following a bye week, the Wolves’ offense found its groove to the tune of 457 yards and defeated the Alexander Cougars 31-14 Friday at Barron Stadium.
The victory vaulted Rome to 4-1 in Region 5-AAAAAA, keeping pace with the pack.
“I think we executed well early and just like against any good opponent, they came back and took advantage of a few mistakes,” Wolves head coach John Reid said. “I think we did a great job of shutting them out in the second half.”
Rome got out to a quick start with a 6-play drive capped off by freshman quarterback Reece Fountain’s 1-yard touchdown run.
Later in the first quarter, freshman running back Shaun Nelson rushed for a 5-yard touchdown to stretch the advantage to 14-0. Nelson finished with 131 yards.
Fountain then flashed his ability through the air, finding Nelson on a screen pass at the Alexander 34-yard line milliseconds before taking a big hit from a Cougar defensive lineman. Nelson carved through the Alexander defense 34 yards to the house to make it 21-0 less than halfway through the second quarter.
“I think he was pretty efficient,” Reid said on his freshman quarterback. “He’s still a pup and he makes some mistakes, but all quarterbacks make mistakes. Great ones make mistakes. Aaron Rodgers makes mistakes because it’s the hardest position to play in all of sports.”
Alexander broke up the shutout quickly following Rome’s third TD, as running back Tyren Curd streaked 16 yards across the goal line.
However, with just over a minute to go in the first half, Fountain located a wide-open DeKaylon Daniel down the middle from 19 yards out. The catch was Daniel’s first-career varsity touchdown catch.
Alexander would have the last answer of the first half with a last-second 12-yard toss from quarterback Donovan Hoskins to 6-foot-6 receiver Tavis Maloy. At the break, Rome led 28-14.
Reid said Rome’s bye week allowed the Wolves to focus on the basics.
“(We) really worked on the basics, just getting better at our position,” Reid said. “We just found a way to grade practice and motivate and practice better. We’ve got them to where now I think they got a little belief in themselves and we came up with a little motto that you need to act like you need practice once it’s practice time and on game night’s, you need to act like you’ve been practicing. I think that worked pretty well for our kids so we’re excited to get a big win like this.”
Rome’s defense stood tall much of the night and shut out Alexander’s offense in the latter 24 minutes. The Cougars would get as close as the Rome 20-yard line, but on a fourth-and-9, a pass to the end zone was knocked away by Martel Hight, turning the ball over on downs.
“A couple of small adjustments,” Reid said on halftime defensive adjustments. “We stopped the little zone play they were running to the boundary. Didn’t penalize ourselves.”
The Wolves’ defense held Alexander to just 210 total yards of offense, including 27 through the air.
Fountain finished 16-for-23 passing for 233 yards and two touchdowns, raising his season total to three.
Due to Douglas County’s road win at Dalton, both Rome and Douglas County are in a two-way tie for second place in Region 5-AAAAAA at 4-1.
Rome and Douglas County will battle it out in another high-stakes region bout out on the gridiron next week in Douglas County, for a chance to stand alone in second.
“These kids have had four tough road games,” Reid said. “They’ve been to Cherokee, they’ve been to Collins Hill, they’ve been to Carrollton, they’ve been in Dalton. That part of it shouldn’t be too crazy, although they’ve never been to this place. I think this helps as they mature and ... this will be the ninth game, nobody’s a rookie anymore. I think they know what’s at stake; they’re just going to have to play well.”