Rockdale hires football coach

Conyers -- A new era for the Rockdale High School football program has begun. Principal Georgi Nour confirmed the hiring of Mario Allen as its new head coach Friday, ending a three-month search for the successor to Mike Etheridge.

"I feel like he's an outstanding (addition) for our program," said Nour. "He gets along well, all the references I checked that was the number one thing -- he relates to the kids. He can definitely relate to our kids and our athletes."

Allen went 15-16 in three seasons at Columbia High School in Decatur. After a 3-7 record in his first season, Allen guided the Eagles to a 6-4 record in 2010 and a 6-5 mark a year ago. The 2011 team won six of its final eight games after an 0-2 start to reach the Class AAA playoffs, then lost 28-0 to Carrollton in the first round of the state tournament.

"He's been successful, he took a program in Columbia High School that's a basketball school, and I feel like changed it," Nour said. "He was our top person."