Drew Titans (Region 4-AAAAAA)
Last Week: 24-14 win over Riverdale
Rome Wolves (Region 7-AAAAA)
Last Week: 33-21 win over Harrison
Drew is coming off a somewhat historic win, as last week’s 24-14 victory over Riverdale marked the first time in program history that the Titans have defeated their crosstown rival.
Drew’s reward? A date with defending Class AAAAA state champion and top-ranked Rome High Friday night. Yet, Drew head coach Dorwyn Lyles views the game as an opportunity for his program to continue to grow.
“As (wrestling legend) Ric Flair use to say, ‘to be the man, you have to beat the man,’” said Lyles. “To be the best, you have to beat the best or at least compete with them. Rome provides a culture that we customarily wouldn’t see here within the district. To compete against a team that has several Division I commits is a challenge but also the challenge we need to get outside this box. We like to expose our players to life outside of the county, to let them see and experience programs at different levels.”
Rome is coming off a 33-21 win in a high-profile matchup with state-ranked Harrison. The Wolves tout top recruits like Adam Anderson (four-star), Jalynn Sykes (three-star), Jamarcus Chatman (three-star), Jaquon Griffin (three-star), Jamious Griffin (three-star) and Knox Kadum (three-star).
“They have talent at every position that will play collegiate football,” said Lyles. “They are consistent in their approach and how they implement their gameplan. Their offensive line comes off the ball and their defensive line is a terror — lots of speed, strength and athleticism.”
Friday’s matchup will mark the second straight season in which Drew has traveled to face Rome. Lyles said the challenge will only help his team as it prepares for region play.
“Our team is very inexperienced, so all these early test will help us grow as we move into region play,” he said. “That’s the goal — to get better each week and perform at our highest each week. The response has varied and we are looking for some consistency. Our more experienced players have to lead and set the tone for those who are trying to find their way. The value that we put forth everyday with practice is critical to the on-field performances during games. There is where we must improve and respond…