Rome High School Varsity Football Tops Creekside in 2022 Corky Kell Classic

Rome High School Varsity Football Tops Creekside in 2022 Corky Kell Classic

ROME, GA— For a long period of time during the second quarter, it seemed like Creekside’s offense had found its stride as the Seminoles marched down the field toward Rome’s end zone. The Seminoles, trailing the Wolves 9-0, were finding success on the ground and through the air.

Creekside tailback Roderick McCrary, who finished the night leading all rushers with 105 yards, took a hand-off on a fourth and two play from Rome’s six-yard lane. McCreary had already amassed over 80 yards on the night and seemed ready to get the first down and possibly set up a touchdown.

Instead, the Rome Wolves’ defense rose up and made one of several big plays that helped define the night. McCreary needing two yards, hit the line of scrimmage and ran into a massive brick wall of defenders. He spun and scrapped and tried to break free to no avail, as the Rome defenders allowed one yard before a host of them slammed him to Barron Stadium's turf a yard shy of a first down allowing Rome to move into halftime with a 9-0 lead.

The stop proved pivotal on the evening as the Wolves held off Class 5A No. 2 ranked Creekside 16-6 in the third game of the Corky Kell Classic.

While Rome’s offense played well, the defense stepped up and made key plays on a night where Creekside managed to have almost 30 minutes of time of possession.

“They (the defense) were out there for a long time for a first game, and this was kind of our scrimmage and a first game all rolled into one against a team that is one of the best teams in the state at any level. It was a tough night and a tough team, but I was proud of our kids,” Rome coach John Reid said, sporting a large smile after the game. “I think it was great for everyone to get to see our defense play like that, and they made some big plays. A goal line stand, the safety and more.”

And Rome’s defense got better as the night went on. McCreary, who amassed 83 yards by halftime, managed only 22 more in the second half. Linebackers Alto Moore and Grant Bullard made several big tackles as did linemen Stephiylan Green and Tyson Brown. Darius Smith and Javian Winston each had a couple of big pass break ups as well including a couple that saved touchdowns and Martel Hight pulled in an interception.

Rome’s stingy defense gave the offense time to get its feet underneath it and helped stake the squad to some good field position on a couple of key drives.

After Rome’s defense forced Creekside to punt late in the first quarter, a bad snap forced the Seminoles’ punter to fall on the ball and Rome took over at Creekside’s 22-yard line.

Rome receiver DK Daniel broke off a 21-yard run and two plays later Rome tailback Chance Arthur scooted into the end zone from one yard out to give the Wolves a 7-0 lead late in the opening quarter.

Rome’s defense came up big next, as the Wolves forced Creekside’s offense to retreat after taking over on their own 19-yard line. Green caught Creekside quarterback Vinson Berry in the end zone. Berry attempted to throw the ball away but was hit with an intentional grounding penalty resulting in a safety for the Wolves and upping the lead to 9-0.

“I thought our offense took advantage of their opportunities sometimes. We gave them a lot of good opportunities. We’ll go to work and get that fixed,” Reid said. “Some of our guys on the line were playing their first game against a very good, very big defensive line.”

Creekside finally found some offensive momentum in the late third quarter as Berry found receiver Krishon Lett for three big pass plays on the drive including a nine-yard touchdown pass on fourth down to cut Rome’s lead to 9-6 with 1:55 remaining in the third quarter.

Rome’s offense refused to give Creekside any momentum however, as the Wolves took advantage of good starting field position at the 50-yard line.

Rome quarterback Reece Fountain hit a big 21-yard pass play to Martavious Collins and the Wolves took advantage of a Creekside pass interference call to set up shop deep in Seminole territory. Rome tailback Javarius McDearmont plunged into the end zone from two yards out to up the lead to 16-6 with 10:43 remaining in the game.

Creekside took advantage of an uncharacteristic Rome mistake managing to get the ball at Rome’s 40-yard line with 7:21 left in the contest. The Seminoles managed to find some room on the ground moving the ball all the way to Rome’s six-yard line, setting up a first and goal situation with three minutes left in the game.

Once again, the Wolves’ defense hunkered down and refused to allow Creekside much of anything. The Seminoles managed to move the ball to the three-yard line, but on fourth and three, Rome defenders again piled on Creekside tailback Khary Morrow, refusing him any room and stopping him short of the goal line.

The Seminoles had one final scoring chance again moving inside Rome’s 10-yard line but Rome defenders broke through and stripped Berry of the ball and Moore recovered it effectively ending the game for the Wolves.

McCrary led all rushers with 105 yards while Lett led all receivers with 90 yards and one touchdown. Daniel was Rome’s leading receiver with 52 yards and Rome’s leading rusher with 21 yards. Fountain finished with 13 completions on nine attempts.

Moore led all tacklers with 10 and one sack, while Tyson Brown added 6.5 tackles and one sack and Green grabbed 5 tackles and 1.5 sacks. And Rome’s defense proved super stingy in the Red Zone allowing Creekside to score on only one of their four trips into it.

“Getting that first win is the most important win, because it’s awfully tough to start 0-1,” Reid said.

The win moves Rome to 1-0 on the season while Creekside falls to 0-1. Rome returns to action next week at Barron Stadium against Lithonia.