Hughes will have to wait another week to own the state scoring record.

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And that’s the worst thing that happened to the No. 1-ranked Panthers, who hammered No. 6 Rome 42-3 in the Class 6A semifinal at Lakewood Stadium and advanced to the championship game for the second straight year.

“To get to the state championship game, that’s big,” Hughes coach Daniel “Boone” Williams said. “To get there again is even bigger. It’s amazing.”

Hughes needed 44 points to break Rome’s record total of 758 points, but came up two points short and will seek that next week when it plays Gainesville in the championship.

“We’re more interested in winning a championship,” said senior Jekail Middlebrook, a transfer from Lovejoy who will experience his first final experience. “Just coming in and playing a big role for the team, it feels good.”

Hughes looked like they were going to run Rome out of the stadium early. The Panthers scored easily on their first two possessions, with Middlebrook running it in from 1 yard and scored on an 11-yard run after Terrance Love came up with an interception.

“We knew we had to get a lead and we knew we had to get up with them,” Williams said. “We had a good game plan coming in and how to limit what they tried to do, so we knew we needed to jump out early.”

That’s when the Rome offense began to eat the clock and shorten the game, although the Wolves got their lone points of the half with eight seconds remaining when Diego Cordon kicked a 34-yard field goal.

The Hughes defense came after Rome quarterback Reese Fountain on nearly every play. Fountain showed a lot of cool by sidestepped the rushers and occasionally escaping around the end and sliding for a first down. But Demarcus Brown and Joshua Horton each came up with sacks.

“Everything seemed so easy out there tonight,” Brown said. “I was just doing my job and everything paid off. We knew they got off the ball fast so our job was to get back there before they got off the ball.”

Hughes scored four more touchdowns in the second half. Prentiss Noland accounted for three of those -- a 64-yarder to Middlebrook, a 14-yarder and 7-yarder to Jediyah Willoughby. The other score came on a 48-yard pick-six by Xavier Leonard, one of three produced by Hughes.

“I’m not really surprised because I thought we’d get there last year,” Brown said. “We’ve got to finish the season out with a win this year.”