Championship insight from another state contender

Head coach John Reid (right) led the Rome Wolves to a Class AAAAA state championship in 2016. (Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com)

 

The Class AAAAA championship game on Friday will feature No. 1 Rome against No. 4 Warner Robins. It doesn’t get much better than having two undefeated teams meet to determine a state championship. A pair of 14-0 teams slugging it out promises to be a great afternoon.

The only team that played both state finalists this year was Carrollton, which lost to Rome 45-24 during the regular season and lost to Warner Robins 63-24 in the quarterfinals. Perhaps no one is better qualified to describe both teams than Carrollton coach Sean Calhoun.

“We don’t like to lose, but the two teams in the state championship games are teams that beat us,” Calhoun said. “If you’re going to get beat, you want to see those teams in the championship game.”

We spoke to Calhoun about both teams to see what makes them tick. Here’s what he had to say:

About the Warner Robins season: “To go from 3-7 to 14-0 is a great turnaround. It’s a testament to the coaches. They visited us during the off-season. They were searching and they were trying to get better and turn things around.”

About the Warner Robins offense: “They’re very explosive. They’ve got two receivers (Jaeven West and Julius Cobbs) who can take it the distance. And (West) is a very good football player. The quarterback (Dylan Fromm) is very accurate and gets the ball out of his hands in a hurry. Their offensive line is very good; their left tackle is going to FSU. They have a big back (Jarius Burnett) and when he gets a chance, he can take it the distance.”

About the Warner Robins defense: “They run a 3-4 but they don’t blitz much. They’ve got a big front, two of the three are more than 300 pounds. They have longer outside linebackers and their linebackers and secondary are good high school football players. They don’t bust assignments as a whole.”

About the Rome season: “You can tell by their scores that they’re getting better, as crazy as they sounds and as scary as that is. People were shocked about last Friday (when Rome beat No. 2 Buford 45-7)  and I wouldn’t have predicted the score to be that lopsided, it didn’t shock me.”

About the Rome offense: “They put so much pressure on you to score, because their offense is so good. They can score in one play or they can hold it for five or six minutes and score. … Their quarterback (Knox Kadum) is a winner and that goes so far. Their running back (Jamious Griffin) is incredible. They want to run the ball, that’s no secret, and they’re so big up front it’s hard to stop them.”

About the Rome defense: “If you get behind the chains, they just go to work with their four guys up front. It’s so hard for a high school line to hold those four defensive linemen. They play so hard.”


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