Rams look­ing to con­quer Rome

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHA­KEEM HOL­LOWAY shol­loway@cov­news.com

In a rare, late Satur­day evening matchup, Rome High School will travel to Sharp Sta­dium to take on New­ton in a bat­tle of spread of­fenses.

As you know, Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Wolves are switch­ing over from the wing-t of­fense to the spread op­tion, some­thing New­ton head coach Ter­rance Banks in­stalled in his first year last sea­son.

“They re­mind me a lot of us in a lot of things that they do that are sim­i­lar,” Banks said.

“Rome is well­coached. A very well­coached team. They do the things that they are sup­posed to do pretty well. As far as align­ments and as­sign­ments, they know where they’re sup­posed to be, and they play hard.”

Through two games, New­ton is un­de­feated be­hind a high-pow­ered rush­ing at­tack and a strik­ingly ef­fi­cient pass­ing game. The Rams’ de­fense faces this of­fense ev­ery day in prac­tice and has faced the spread in their first two games so far this sea­son.

“We faced the spread at Berk­mar. Mead­owcreek did some spread things, and of course we’re spread,” Banks said. “This is our third team, so I think that def­i­nitely aids in get­ting us lined up. I think our de­fense is start­ing to play bet­ter as the peo­ple on de­fense are start­ing to un­der­stand what their role is bet­ter.”

Banks brought in a new de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor in the off-sea­son, and New­ton’s first two games were a de­fin­i­tive tune-up for the de­fense to what the new de­fen­sive co­or­di­na­tor wants. De­fense was Banks’ first re­sponse when he of­fered three keys to vic­tory, which are de­fense, the run­ning game and lim­it­ing turnovers.

De­fense

The Rams have al­lowed just 21 points through two games, but Rome should of­fer New­ton a big­ger chal­lenge in

terms of of­fen­sive abil­ity.

“We’re start­ing to, on de­fense, get some three­and- outs,” Banks said. “That’ll be key be­cause of tempo. We haven’t had to play more than 40- some­thing plays yet in a game. I think that’ll def­i­nitely be dif­fer­ent on Satur­day. I think we’ll have to play a lot more. I think if the de­fense can get us some three- and- outs, I think that’ll be key for us.”

The run­ning game

“We’ve been able to run the ball well the last two games, so run­ning the ball will be def­i­nitely key for us,” Banks said.

Rams’ quar­ter­back Ro­mario John­son is a du­althreat on of­fense, and he’s ac­cu­mu­lated over 800 yards of of­fense in the first two games. John­son’s rush­ing abil­ity will be key as he takes pres­sure off the run­ning backs and opens up the pass­ing game as well.

No turnovers

No turnovers, no prob­lem. The Rams have been good at tak­ing care of the ball this sea­son with only one turnover

“We’ve been safe with the foot­ball so far this year,” Banks said. “We had one turnover last week, but we caused about three or four more. So I think if we can win the turnover bat­tle, that’ll be key for us as well.”

The Rams are wel­com­ing back a key piece to their of­fen­sive line in Vinny Jen­gelly, who had been in­jured, and not a game too late as the Rams get into the meat of their sched­ule. The play of the Ram’s of­fen­sive line will con­tinue to be a fac­tor in the run game.

“They’ve played well so far,” Banks said. “I think hav­ing ex­pe­ri­ence helps. We’ve been with­out a two- year starter on the of­fen­sive line. Somebody that’s made all- re­gion be­fore, Vinny Jen­gelly, he’s back from his in­jury that he suf­fered in the spring. He’s prob­a­bly about 85 per­cent now, but he’ll be able to play for us. Hope­fully, he’ll be 100 per­cent by the time Lown­des comes [ around]. So any­time you get a cap­tain and a two- year starter, somebody that made the all- re­gion back, you ex­pect bet­ter things out of the of­fen­sive line.”

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