WINDER - As the saying goes, it's a dog eat dog world.
Friday proved to be a Rockdale dog eat Winder-Barrow dogg world, as the visiting Bulldogs snapped a three-game slide with a 32-9 win at W. Clair Harris Stadium.
To make matters worse for Winder (1-6), it was homecoming.
"Well, we needed it to stay back in the hunt," Rockdale coach Michael Etheridge said. "We tried to do a lot of stuff fundamentally to try and get a little bit better this last week."
The Bulldogs (4-3) took advantage of big plays while holding their opponent scoreless in the second half.
Just 44 seconds into the game, Rockdale had the lead thanks to a 52-yard touchdown burst by David Calloway. The play was just the second of the drive, set up by a 17-yard scamper.
After the missed PAT, the Bulldogs led 6-0 with 11:16 left in the first quarter.
But Winder knotted the score 6-6 with 5:27 left after a 6-yard run by Kendrick Davis. Like Rockdale earlier, Winder failed to convert the PAT.
However, it wasn't long before the visiting Bulldogs regained the lead, this time by way of a 69-yard touchdown run by Tavarius Williams. The drive took just two plays and lasted 37 seconds.
"We ran some plays tonight that we've been working on for a while," Etheridge said, "so it was nice to be able to run them and be successful with a few of them."
With the PAT, Rockdale had a 13-6 advantage at the 4:50 mark.
For good measure, the Bulldogs added another touchdown on their next possession six seconds before the end of the first stanza. On fourth-and-11, Rockdale quarterback Darius Lucas found Ryan Culbreath in the end zone for a 27-yard touchdown reception.
After the PAT, Rockdale led 20-6 entering the second quarter.
But Winder found itself in good field position to begin the new quarter after a 51-yard kickoff return by Davis. The Bulldoggs capitalized with six-play drive resulting in a 31-yard field goal by Ben Wallace to make it 20-9 with 9:32 until halftime.
Rockdale had two more opportunities to score again. However, a missed field goal followed by a fumble on the Winder 10-yard line kept the score 20-9 entering the break.
Prior to the fumble, Rockdale's Isaiah Gresham intercepted Winder quarterback Greg Dixon.
Despite accumulating 281 yards of total offense in the first half, Rockdale committed seven penalties for minus 65 yards. Though only chalking up 180 yards, Winder was penalized just once for minus five yards.
"Winder is doing a good job over here and they're working hard," Etheridge said, "but we have a chance to get to the playoffs and we can't have foolishness. We're mainly just trying to get better and still play hard."
The third quarter was riddled with turnovers, including two by Winder thanks to a fumble recovery by Rockdale's Byran Lawrence and an interception by Ben Bradley.
As a result, Rockdale padded its lead after a 4-yard run by Calloway. After another blocked PAT, the boys in white were up 26-9 with 3:19 left, where the score remained the same entering the fourth.
Calloway, who finished with 10 carries for 102 yards, added his third touchdown of the game in the final frame after a 7-yard dash. After another blocked PAT, Rockdale led 32-9 with 8:26 left in the game.
Davis led Winder with 13 carries for 75 yards.
Jason Murdock can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.