Rome comes out on top in bat­tle with Car­roll­ton, 65-51

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Jeremy Ste­wart jstew­[email protected]

For more than three and a half hours, No. 1 Rome and No. 4 Car­roll­ton took one swing af­ter an­other as each team’s of­fense fought to be the one to throw the knock­out punch.

And with the one-two com­bi­na­tion of Jamious Grif­fin and Xavier Roberts-Don­ald­son, the Wolves were able to de­liver what be­came the ul­ti­mate blow in the fourth quar­ter of a 65-51 win for Rome at Bar­ron Sta­dium.

Grif­fin had an­other ex­plo­sive game, run­ning for 285 yards and four touch­downs on 28 car­ries, an av­er­age of 10.2 yards per at­tempt. Se­nior re­ceiver Roberts-Don­ald­son had 11 catches for 248 yards and four scores, in­clud­ing two catches in the fi­nal quar­ter that led to long touch­downs.

The game was the sec­ond top-ten matchup in a row for the Wolves, who topped then No. 8-ranked Kell 35-6 last Fri­day, and the vic­tory over the Tro­jans ex­tends Rome’s state-best win­ning streak to 31 games while giv­ing the Wolves a 2-0 mark in Re­gion 7-5A.

Rome (4-0) and Car­roll­ton com­bined for 1,259 yards of of­fense on top of the 116 points scored in the game. Wolves quar­ter­back Knox Kadum went 13 of 24 for 287 yards and the four touch­downs to Robert­sDon­ald­son while throw­ing no in­ter­cep­tions. The se­nior also rushed for 73 yards and an­other score.

Rome held a cau­tious 35-29 lead at half­time but got some breath­ing room af­ter open­ing the sec­ond half with a five-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a sec­ond­chance run by Grif­fin cov­er­ing 41 yards.

Alonzo Ro­driguez made the ex­tra point, one of six on the night for the ju­nior, who also made a 24-yard field goal early in the fourth quar­ter to give Rome a 45-29 lead.

Car­roll­ton (3-1) got within eight of Rome just more than three min­utes into the fourth as Tro­jan quar­ter­back Kashif Tay­lor con­nected on a 4-yard quick pass to Isa­iah Lan­caster, the sec­ond of three on the night. The suc­cess­ful two-point pass made it 45-37 Rome.

The Wolves start­ing the en­su­ing drive on their 20 af­ter a touch­back on the kick­off, and Kadum hit Roberts-Don­ald­son on a screen pass to the right on the first play from scrim­mage. The re­ceiver bob­bled the ball but quickly gained con­trol, split­ting the de­fend­ers and rac­ing 80-yards for the touch­down.

Car­roll­ton an­swered right back, as they had done through­out the first half, with the fi­nal Tay­lor-Lan­caster TD, but Rome wasted lit­tle time on the re­but­tal.

On the following drive, Kadum hooked up with Roberts-Don­ald­son on nearly the same screen pass on the sec­ond play from scrim­mage. This time Roberts-Don­ald­son clutched the ball tightly, did a spin move to shake off a de­fender and took it 58 yards to the end zone with 5:48 left to play.

The Tro­jans were held to a four-and-out on their next pos­ses­sion af­ter they were un­able to con­vert on a fourth-and-10 and Rome took over on Car­roll­ton’s 22. Grif­fin ran for 9 yards be­fore com­plet­ing the short-field pos­ses­sion with a 13-yard scor­ing run to give Rome a 65-44 lead.

The Wolves are back at home this week for their home­com­ing game as they host re­gion foe Cass at Bar­ron Sta­dium.

/ Jeremy Ste­wart

Rome High’s Xavier Roberts-Don­ald­son (7) car­ries the ball for a 20-yard gain as Car­roll­ton’s Reid Ded­man comes up be­hind him dur­ing Fri­day’s Re­gion 7-5A game.

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