Rome Varsity Football Honors Teams of the Past with Night of Champions Event
ROME, GA— The history of Rome City Schools athletics is steeped in success, and on Friday, Sept. 23 before the Wolves take on visiting Allatoona at Barron Stadium, three historic teams will be honored. The teams being honored are the 1977 East Rome state championship squad, the 1982 West Rome state championship squad and the 1992 Rome High football team, the first fielded at the newly consolidated school.
Rome High athletic director has been working on this project for a while now, and he is super excited to see it coming to fruition on Friday night.
“It’s been an exciting building process. When I became the athletic director a year ago, one of the things I really started thinking about was something I really enjoyed as a coach after we won the 2016 state title,” Boden said. “Coach Reid put all the plaques of the state championship winning teams on Barron Stadium, and I just thought that was a great way to celebrate the past.”
On top of that, Boden saw the community’s response to what Coach Reid did and wanted to build on it.
“That got me thinking. I remember how people reacted and how awesome that was,” he said. “As AD, I wanted to continue building that bridge and help everyone to realize that we are one system, Rome City Schools, and we have had a lot of athletic success over the years.”
With that in mind, Boden searched the history books and came up with three football teams celebrating milestones this season.
“We decided that this year we are going to celebrate three football teams from our past. At the Sept. 23 game against Allatoona, we are going to celebrate the 1977 East Rome state champions because it’s their 45th anniversary, the 1982 West Rome state championship team because it’s their 40th anniversary and then we thought it would be neat because it’s the 30th anniversary of Rome High to celebrate the 1992 Rome High football team.”
Those three teams will be recognized prior to the kickoff of Friday night’s game against Allatoona.
The 1977 East Rome Gladiators coached by Jerry Sharp finished the season with a 15-0 record, beating Early County 35-7 in the state Class A finals at Barron Stadium to claim the school’s first state football title. East Rome allowed only one touchdown during the regular season, shutting out nine of their 10 opponents. Larry Kinnebrew, Greg Gordon and Sylvester Elkins all earned first-team all-state honors that season and Ray Brown earned honorable mention all-state honors. East Rome would also go on to win the state title in 1978 as well.
The 1982 West Rome Chieftains is notorious for being the first of four consecutive state title winning football teams. The squad coached by Mike Hodges compiled a 15-0 record and topped Mary Persons 7-6 in the Class AA state finals to claim the school’s second state football title. The squad featured three first-team all-state selections in Eric Floyd, Keith Green and David McCluskey. The Chieftains would also win state titles in 1983, 1984 and 1985.
The 1992 Rome High School Wolves coached by Danny Wiseman saw East Rome and West Rome come together. The squad won their first game of the season, topping Coosa 22-12 and also grabbed wins over Southeast Whitfield, Northwest Whitfield and Ridgeland. While the team didn’t reach the playoffs, it did set the foundation for the many great years of Rome High football over the past 30 years.
“We are going to get these teams on the field before the game and honor them,” Boden says. “This isn’t just a one-time thing. We want to continue this and to continue honoring the great legacy of athletics for Rome City Schools.”
On that note, Boden mentions that he is building a database of past athletes from Rome City Schools with the idea of honoring more teams and athletes in future seasons.
“It’s pretty amazing the success the teams in our system have had. It’s impressive. The rich tradition is tremendous, and we need to respect and honor that,” Boden says. “I’ve got some big plans for the future. If you are a former athlete, email me, and we can have a contact list. We want to have a lot of get-togethers.”
So, on Friday night, Gladiators, Chieftains and Wolves will come together to celebrate a rich legacy and tradition of excellence at Barron Stadium.