There was a feeling around Region 8-AAAA that the 2011 season would be somewhat of a rebuilding one for Rockdale.
After all, the core of the defense that led the Bulldogs to the state semifinals in 2009 -- all-state lineman Grady Jarrett (Clemson), lineman Jerry Mathis (Samford) and defensive back Neville Hewitt (Georgia Military College) -- all had moved on and the Bulldogs offense, not especially effective in 2010 (single-digit points scored in seven of 10 games), was starting a new quarterback for the third consecutive season and three new starters on the offensive line were sophomores. So it's probably not much of a surprise that the Bulldogs had to sweat out a 17-13 win to extend Winder-Barrow's losing streak to 15 in week one, then fell 30-3 to Loganville last Friday.
"Things (like last Friday are) going to happen when you're young, made some mistakes there," said Rockdale coach Mike Etheridge. "We're kind of disappointed in the way the game came out, but weren't disappointed in the kids effort. Made some mental errors. We're very young, and they're going to get better. Unfortunately there are going to be nights like this (but) we're going to get there."
Etheridge said the Bulldogs offense was moving the ball against Loganville, but the unit wasn't able to get into the end zone as Devon Dawkins' 38-yard field goal was the team's only points.
"Our quarterback played well, we had some good runs by both our halfbacks," said Etheridge. "We did a lot between the 20s, we just couldn't get it in."
Up next for Rockdale is a road game in Athens with Cedar Shoals. The Jaguars shook off a week one blowout loss to Clarke Central, and a 27-point halftime deficit to Habersham Central, by mounting a miraculous come back (34 unanswered points) to beat the Raiders 41-34. Cedar's sophomore tailback Adrian Washington ran for 177 yards and three touchdowns and will need to be contained if Rockdale is to come up with its third consecutive shut out in the series.
"(Rockdale is) real young, we're just going to keep getting better," Etheridge said.