Rome’s Grif­fin earns 2018 RN-T Of­fen­sive POTY hon­ors

The Standard Journal - - LOCAL SPORTS - By Jonathan Blay­lock jblay­[email protected]

To say Rome High run­ning back Jamious Grif­fin had the kind of sea­son play­ers dream about would be an un­der­state­ment.

His hard work and pa­tience at his po­si­tion over his four-year ca­reer paid off as he com­pleted his fi­nal sea­son with the Wolves as the top rusher in Class 5A, while his 2,815 yards on the ground sur­passed his two pre­vi­ous sea­sons com­bined.

“It’s al­ways been hard work that’s got me where I am to­day,” Grif­fin said. “So I’m go­ing to con­tinue to work hard. I just want to be great, and I can’t be great if I don’t work hard.”

Grif­fin’s year as the Wolves’ fea­tured back earned him the honor of 2018 Rome NewsTri­bune Of­fen­sive Player of the Year.

Grif­fin spent his first three sea­sons at run­ning back shar­ing the load with Ja­lynn Sykes, and said get­ting the ma­jor­ity of the car­ries was a big dif­fer­ence. How­ever, Grif­fin said his chem­istry with his team­mates and his will­ing­ness to con­tin­u­ally bet­ter him­self al­lowed him to step up to the chal­lenge.

“It was a great team ef­fort,” Grif­fin said. “I think ev­ery­one came to­gether. We didn’t have the same team as last year, but we all came to­gether.”

Rome High head coach John Reid saw Grif­fin’s ef­forts through­out his ca­reer be­fore he rose to a highly-re­garded name in Ge­or­gia re­cruit­ing in a sea­son that saw the Wolves reach the Class 5A semi­fi­nals af­ter win­ning the pre­vi­ous two state ti­tles.

“He was build­ing for this sea­son his en­tire ca­reer,” Reid said. “He was pa­tient, and it cul­mi­nated in not only a great se­nior year, but a great ca­reer. He was un­selfish and pa­tient, and he con­tin­ued to push and get stronger and faster. I think that says a ton.”

Grif­fin amassed 6,400 yards in his ca­reer with the Wolves and scored 104 touch­downs, which places him fifth all time in ca­reer touch­downs for Ge­or­gia run­ning backs. Both his yardage and rush­ing touch­down to­tal eclipse those of Ge­or­gia great Her­schel Walker from his time play­ing for John­son County.

Grif­fin, a North Carolina State com­mit, be­gan the sea­son as a two-star re­cruit and ended it as a four-star. He was rec­og­nized for his tal­ents by earn­ing sev­eral awards through­out the sea­son, in­clud­ing be­ing named first­team all-state, the Ga­torade Ge­or­gia Foot­ball Player of the Year, the Re­gion 7-5A MVP and a USA To­day first-team All-Amer­i­can.

Join­ing Grif­fin on the All-Area First Team are quar­ter­back Knox Kadum and re­ceiver Xavier Robert­sDon­ald­son, his team­mates through­out his time at Rome. Kadum fin­ished his se­nior sea­son go­ing 93 of 146 for 1,633 yards and 21 touch­downs with no in­ter­cep­tions.

Roberts-Don­ald­son, who is com­mit­ted to play for Ken­ne­saw State, caught 56 passes for 1,118 yards and 16 touch­downs. The trio helped lead the Wolves to a 13-1 record and their third straight Re­gion 7-5A ti­tle.

Aid­ing Rome’s of­fen­sive pro­duc­tion this past sea­son were first-team line­men Ai­den Gaines and Quon Les­lie, while Dar­ling­ton’s Tate Ra­tledge kept op­pos­ing teams at bay for the Tigers. All three are ju­niors.

Lead­ing the of­fen­sive at­tack for Rock­mart’s his­toric 2018 cam­paign to the Class AA state cham­pi­onship game and 14 straight wins was se­nior quar­ter­back Dy­lan Bai­ley, who had 1,577 yards pass­ing for 23 touch­downs.

Join­ing him on the first team are run­ning back Markus Smith and re­ceiver Juke Booze, who com­bined for over 2,000 yards and 30 touch­downs for the Jack­ets.

(See the full list on­line with this story on RN-T.com.)

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