Bulldogs have scary task ahead
Rockdale needs win to keep playoff hopes alive

CONYERS - As ghouls and goblins roam the neighborhoods tonight on Halloween, there will be plenty dressed as Bulldogs and Red Devils.

On the gridiron, that is, between Rockdale and Loganville at Red Devils Stadium battling for pigskin supremacy.

Loganville (7-1) is tied with Clarke Central for first place in Region 8-AAAA. Meanwhile, Rockdale (4-4) needs a victory just to stay afloat in the playoff race.

"There's a lot of parity in this region," Rockdale coach Mike Etheridge said. "We're three plays away from only having one loss. But we gotta get Rockdale focused and ready to play. I'm looking at it if we win the next two then we can get in it at fourth. From the outside looking in, (Loganville) has more confidence than we do, so we just gotta pick it up because it could very easily happen."

Loganville's last - and only - loss of the year was a 10-7 decision at Salem on Sept. 12. Fittingly so, it's scary how good the Red Devils have been lately.

"We weren't very good offensively at that point in the season," Loganville coach Eric Godfree said. "Our defense has played well all season, and if you want to win games you had better have a good defense. Our offense has improved tremendously starting up front with our offensive line."

Since falling to the Seminoles, all the Red Devils have done since is rip off six straight wins.

On offense, the Red Devils are averaging 21.1 points per game. Defensively, they are limiting opponents to 10.8.

"I think mentally for us is just getting ready to play," Etheridge said. "We've had some disappointing losses in the last (three) weeks. We've just got to bounce back. I think we can beat Loganville, but we're just going to have to come and play our A game from the very beginning to the end."

Rockdale has been shut out three times this season, including twice in the past three games. Nevertheless, the Bulldogs average 18.4 points per game, proving that when they do score, it comes in bunches.

"Well, we really can't figure it out," Etheridge said. "We're still running the same plays against the same kind of defenses. It's been kind of disappointing, but we're trying to work hard on fundamentals and execute better. It's been frustrating, but I think we're going to be smooth and ready to play (tonight)."

Defensively, the Bulldogs are allowing 16 points per game.

"I'm sure (Godfree) is pretty confident over there at Loganville," Etheridge said. "They are looking past us to the playoffs, I would think - we hope they are. We hope they're looking on down the road, and we come sneak in there and get one."

Jason Murdock can be reached at jason.murdock@rockdalecitizen.com.

SideBar: Rockdale at Loganville

When: 7:30 p.m. today

Where: Red Devils Stadium in Loganville

Series: Rockdale leads 3-2

Last meeting: Loganville won 42-0 in 2007