CONYERS -- The Rockdale football team trailed early in last weekend's season opener against Winder-Barrow. Down 7-0, senior defensive back Nick Coggins recovered his teammate's fumble in the end zone and an extra point later, the Bulldogs were tied at 7-7. The hosts, led by a strong second half rushing attack, didn't trail the rest of the way in picking up a 17-13 victory.
"We just got to be thankful we got this one under our belts, and didn't get anybody hurt," said Rockdale coach Mike Etheridge. "We'll just keep going."
Rockdale will try to take that momentum on the road this Friday when they travel to Loganville. The Red Devils, playing in their season opener, will try to shake the memory of their last game -- a 50-6 thumping at the hands of Tucker in the first round of the Class AAAA state playoffs.
"I think it's going to be a good test; they've played their jamboree against Walnut Grove -- score was 7-6. They're well-coached, as always," Etheridge said. "We need to contain them. I think we'll be in pretty good shape."
The Bulldogs' rushing attack was in really good shape against Winder. Led by senior Deon Holder and sophomore Demonta Graham, the ground game racked up over 200 yards in the second half, helping salt away the week 1 win. The young offensive line, namely sophomores Kentavius Preston, Tyler Jones and Julian McKnight, played well, but will have to continue to improve if Rockdale is to navigate the always-difficult region 8-AAAA schedule.
"I know we had quite a few (yards). I was pretty pleased with that," said Etheridge. "We have several running backs, Deon did well, Graham did well. It helps with a front line giving them some room. We're real young up front, we're starting three sophomores over there (and) they did a good job...did a good job blocking. We just got to keep improving. I think they'll get better (but) they got to get stronger, they got to get better in the weight room."