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L-R: MARTAVIOUS COLLINS (TE/WR) JR REECE FOUNTAIN (QB) JR STEPHIYLAN GREEN (DL) SR - Photos Andy Calvert

Rome High’s 2021 football season featured some highs and lows. The Wolves manhandled region rival Carrollton to take control of the region and eventually won the region title, but they dropped a first-round state playoff game to a determined John’s Creek squad to end a promising season prematurely. 

Moments after the playoff loss, Coach John Reid took the blame for it and mentioned that it won’t happen again. 

If there is anything to be learned about Reid, now in his eighth season with Rome, it’s that he follows through on what he says. Moments after being introduced as the new head football coach at Rome, Reid predicted the Wolves would win a state title. In fact, the Wolves won two since his arrival and have factored in the state playoffs in a major way even on years where they haven’t lifted the big trophy. 

Those lofty expectations remain for the Wolves who enter the 2022 season hungry and with something to prove after an early-round exit. And of course, in typical Rome fashion, the Wolves face a daunting non-region schedule to prepare for the region and playoff battles later in the year. 

“We have a great schedule this year. Four of our first five opponents have a good chance to be in the top 10 in their classification when we play them, so it’s going to be tough,” Reid says. 

Rome will also play host to the Corky Kelly Classic once again with the Wolves facing off against Creekside in the nightcap, allowing local fans a chance to see high-caliber football on Friday, Aug. 19 at Barron Stadium. 

“It’s nice to be back in the Corky Cell Classic, especially after everything got kind of crazy there for a while,” Reid says. “It’s a great opportunity to show off our city, but we do have some work to do to sell tickets and get those stands packed.” 

While the Wolves did lose some talent from last season’s region title-winning squad, a good bit of the offensive production, particularly from the passing game returns. Junior quarterback Reece Fountain is back behind center and has started a ton of games. Last year, he threw for more than 2,000 yards and 19 touchdowns and will see the majority of last year’s receivers returning. 

Martel Hight, a Vanderbilt commitment, racked up more than 1,000 receiving yards for the Wolves last season and was a force as a wideout and cornerback. Demarcus Daniel and Martavious Collins are two other key targets for the Rome offense and both players have had huge upside and potential. 

Rome’s defensive line and linebacking corps look stacked yet again and rumors coming out of the area predict this group of linemen could be as good or better than the group that anchored the line for the back-to-back state titles. Stephilyin Green, a Clemson Commit and All-State Selection let season, anchors the group and will be one of many Wolves helping terrorize opposing quarterbacks and ballcarriers all season. 

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Rome’s region won’t be easy either as the Wolves shift from Region 5-6A to Region 6-6A and will face off against different opponents like Sequoyah, Woodstock, River Ridge, Creekview, and Etowah. The region opener at home against Allatoona might set up the road to the region title, as the winner will most likely be favored to capture the region title. 

When pondering the upcoming season Reid’s face remains unchanged, and he delivers the typical matter-of-fact answers he’s known for. 

“I think we’ll be prepared. The question is can we handle the ups and down,” he says. “We don’t want to get too far up, and we don’t want to get too far down, because we’ve got to be ready for every game. We learned that last year.” 

So, Rome gets ready with several college prospects and a hankering to make sure they don’t have an early exit from the playoffs this season. If the Wolves can weather the non-region schedule and not have the injury bug bite, there is a solid opportunity for Rome to be playing late into December. 

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An injury while running at Auburn ended Jim Alred’s long-shot hopes of possibly competing in the Olympics, so he turned to writing and has been crafting award-winning stories across multiple mediums ever since. Along the way he’s been chased by a grizzly bear, worked as Goofy at Walt Disney World, been nominated for two Emmys, interviewed celebrities like Tiger Woods, Bo Jackson, Bill Clinton, coaches his daughters in cross country and soccer and can often be found running with his wife, Tara, around Rome.