Rome won’t be able to surprise anyone this year.
The Wolves were one of three excellent teams a year ago that emerged from Region 7 and wound up winning the state championship. The team was loaded with talent, but that had been the case before when the program was perceived as underperforming.
That began to change when John Reid arrived as the head coach in 2015. After getting a by-in from the players for hard work in the weight room and during the off-season, the team went 8-4 in 2015 and went 13-2 last year, beating mighty Buford in the Georgia Dome for the first state championship in school history.
Now, with a ton of talent and experience back, Rome will see if it can do it again.
The Wolves will be the team to beat in Class AAAAA, if they can survive a rugged region schedule that includes Carrollton and Kell. A year ago, Rome lost to Kell and stood 1-2, but won 13 straight to take the state championship.
It begins on defense for Rome, just like it did a year ago. In its final 10 games last season, the Wolves had four shutouts and allowed an average of 6.1 points. They limited Buford to seven points in the championship game.
The Wolves defense is led by outside linebacker Adam Anderson, who hasn’t made an official commitment for college. (He’s waffled between LSU and Georgia.) Other stalwarts on defense include defensive tackle JaQuon Griffin (LSU commitment) and end Jamarcus Chatman (Tennessee), as well as tackle/end T.J. Cammack (Navy).
The offense has plenty of weapons, too. It produced 638 points in 2016, an average of 42.5 points. They had a 10-game streak of games in which they scored 42 or more points.
The offense is directed by junior Knox Kadum, a cool operator who runs things, distributes the ball and comes up with big throws on a regular basis. Kadum relies heavily on running backs Jalynn Sykes (xxx) and junior Jamious Griffin (1,443 yards). Kicker Emanuel Gonzalez also returns.
Rome opens the season on Aug. 25 against Harrison at Barron Stadium in Rome.