Rockdale ready to battle against Flowery Branch

COVINGTON -- Even though the Bulldogs may be smaller and outmatched talent-wise by visiting Flowery Branch, that does not mean that Rockdale is going to roll over and play dead.

The Falcons (4-0) are averaging more than 50 points a game on offense, having scored 211 points in four games. They have been just as tough on defense, allowing their opponents just over 10 points on average. Rockdale (1-3) on the other hand is averaging 8.5 points on offense and giving up 28 points on defense.

But that does not mean that the Bulldogs are not going to give Flowery Branch more than it could handle if given the chance.

"I'm not throwing in the towel on this one," Rockdale head coach Mike Etheridge said. "There's no telling what can happen. We're going in trying to win the ball game. We're not going to say come on over here and take it. I've never gone into a game like that and I never will. Our goal is to win the game.

"We're definitely going to have more than a handful. They're really good and really talented on both sides of the ball."

Offensively, Flowery Branch has everything a coach would want. They have an experienced quarterback who stands at 6-foot-4, a big fullback that can run and a group of three receivers over 6-3. Then to add even more they're all fast.

"It's going to be quite a challenge for us but we're plugging along trying to get better every week." Etheridge said. "We're going to stop the run first even though they're a predominantly passing team. They have that big fullback so we're going to work from inside out. We have to slow him down and I hate to say it, get them in a one-dimensional game with one of their big receivers and see if we can (get) after that quarterback."

Etheridge knows that's a lot to ask of his defense, considering that he plays up to nine sophomores. He also knows that sometimes that's just the way it is.

"We just have to work through it. When you have kids that are 15 and 16 years old they're not as muscular or talented as kids that are 18 and 19 years old. It's going to be tough but they're on our schedule so we're going to do the best we can to win the game," Etheridge said.

What keeps Etheridge going is that once this game is over, the rest of the season should be downhill. With half the season still remaining on the schedule, Etheridge feels that his squad will be competitive to the point where they could win enough games to make it to the playoffs,

"We have to get stronger. We knew that going in (season) but we're going to get better. We know where we're at but once we're done with this game we're going to be even keel with everybody else we play." Etheridge said. "If we win four of the next five we'll be 5-5 and that should get you in (playoffs), just about."