WINDER - Taking advantage of Rockdale County turnovers and playing stout defense all night long, Apalachee knocked off Region 8-AAAA's top team with a convincing 17-0 win and celebrated homecoming in grand fashion Friday night.
Apalachee, which found itself on the wrong end of a 21-0 shutout last week at Clarke Central, took advantage of three Rockdale County miscues to keep the Bulldogs out of the end zone and capitalized on offense to seal the win.
Coming off a bye week, Rockdale County crossed midfield just once the entire game and totaled only 143 yards of offense - 77 on the ground and 66 in the air - against Apalachee (3-1 overall, 3-1 region). All told, the Bulldogs (3-1, 3-1) ran just 40 offensive plays, nine in the fourth quarter alone.
"I thought defensively our kids did an outstanding job of controlling the line of scrimmage," Apalachee coach Shane Davis said. "On offense, I'm not so sure we controlled the line of scrimmage, but I thought we did a good job of shielding them a little bit.
"We're still young on the offensive line, but our kids get after it and we battled tonight. But our defense was so good all night and those kids fought hard every play."
Apalachee jumped on Rockdale County in the first quarter when the Bulldogs mishandled a pitch on the second offensive play, and Deonte Will recovered for the Wildcats inside the Rockdale 5. It took Apalachee just two plays to score as Christian Hoard plowed in from 2 yards out with 6:39 left in the opening quarter.
Apalachee increased its lead to 10-0 with 7:46 left in the second quarter when the Wildcats capitalized on a short Rockdale punt and Johnathan Livesay drilled a 37-yard field goal.
In the third quarter, the Apalachee offense put together its best drive of the night and drove 78 yards in 13 plays to put the game away on quarterback Anthony Seda's 1-yard TD run late in the third quarter.
Joey Gebo picked off two Rockdale passes from Bulldogs' signal-caller Isaiah Gresham.
Jon Lee led Apalachee with 68 yards rushing on 19 attempts, while Hoard added 58 yards on just eight carries as the Wildcats totaled 139 yards on the ground.