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Bulldogs claim Conyers Cup
The Rockdale defense limited Heritage to just 31 yards in the third quarter, allowing just one score in its 9-7 win. - photo by Darrell Everidge

There wasn't much scoring in the defensive stalement Friday night between Rockdale and Heritage, but the Bulldogs put just enough bite in their offense to outlast the Patriots 9-7 at Evans Memorial Stadium to capture their first Conyers Cup since 2008.

The win pushed the Bulldogs' record to 2-0 on the season-the first time the Bulldogs have remained undefeated heading into their third game in five years.

The Patriots fall to 1-1 on the year, suffering their first loss to the Bulldogs in five games. Heritage managed just 21 yards of offense in the third period, while losing a pair of fumbles to the Rockdale defense.

"All the doubts are over now," Rockdale coach Vinson Elder said. "These kids wanted to believe, but they weren't sure because they hadn't beat this team. This is the real Rockdale right now. We're a new team and we're moving forward from this point on."

Elder's "new" Rockdale found just one score on the offensive side of the ball, but the Bulldogs' defense limited the Patriots' offense attack, stalling Heritage running back C.J. Stone to just 17 yards on the ground.

After a scoreless first half, Rockdale needed just 14 seconds of offense on their first drive of the third quarter to break the deadlocked contest. Starting from his 26-yard line after a false start penalty, Rockdale quarterback Zuri Mannifiled launched a 74-yard touchdown pass to wideout Joseph Wright down the right sideline. Wright caught the pass in stride over the Patriots' defense, finding the end zone for the score.

After a Devon Dawkins' extra point, the Bulldogs held a 7-0 advantage that they never surrendered.

The Patriots added a late touchdown down 9-0 after Rockdale's defense forced a safety, scoring on a 5-play, 67-yard drive on their final possession of the game. The drive, led by a 32-yard run from Anthony Stanley, saw the Patriots reach the Bulldogs 9-yard line. Heritage quarterback Ryan Sutton connected with receiver Ryan Phillips for a 9-yard touchdown score, but the effort was too late to thwart the Bulldogs.

Minnifield finished 9-of-15 passing for the night with 165 yards and a touchdown, while running back Keijine Thomas added 43 yards on the ground.

Sutton finished 11-of-19 for the game with 135 yards and one score.

Both teams will return to action next week when Rockdale hosts Drew, while Heritage travels to Salem. Games are set to begin at 7:30 p.m.