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Seminoles, Bulldogs kick off 2012 football season

IF YOU GO

Who: Rockdale Bulldogs (0-0) at Salem Seminoles (0-0)

When: Tonight, 7:30 p.m.

Where: Salem Stadium, Conyers

Last season: Salem won 27-14

Series: Rockdale leads 11-7

The football teams at Salem and Rockdale will get together for the 19th time tonight at Salem Stadium. And while not much has changed between the schools, separated by just six miles, one thing has been altered: the county rivals are no longer region foes.

When the Georgia High School Athletic Association realigned the state before the 2012 school year, Salem's situation stayed relatively the same as the Seminoles remained in Region 8, but moved up a classification to Class AAAAA. Still, the dwindling enrollment numbers at the Conyers school could pose a problem.

"We just can't seem to find enough depth at any position, the enrollment is continually going down and we're expecting to compete with schools with 14, 15 hundred kids and we barely hit over 1,000," said third-year coach John Starr. "Depth is always going to be a concern at Salem. We just have to suck it up and play, keep working and get some guys that can spell (starters) for a little bit and keep playing hard."

Rockdale went through even more changes.

The Bulldogs not only moved into Region 2, with schools in Clayton and Henry counties (Lovejoy, Morrow and Luella), local Newton County rivals Alcovy and Newton, as well as Druid Hills, but went up a classification to the newly formed Class AAAAAA.

Rockdale will go through that move with first-year coach Venson Elder, who will begin his first season as a high school head coach. Elder inherits a team that went 1-9 in 2011 and has won just five games in the two years since the school made a first-ever run to the state final four in 2010.

The rivals kick off tonight at 7:30 p.m.