Rockdale football coach Venson Elder has been unhappy with his team's offense throughout both of its first two games of the 2012 season.
Friday night, his mindset was that the Bulldogs have to go back to basics and get back to learning football as they fell to Drew 42-0 at Southern Crescent Stadium.
The Bulldogs (0-3) not only could not find the end zone but managed just 34 yards in their 12th straight loss dating back to last season, including the first two of this season in which they managed just seven points in each.
D.J. Ardister had Rockdale's biggest offensive play in the fourth quarter, rushing for 27 yards to give the Bulldogs its best field position and second first down of the game at the Drew 21 with a little over 3 minutes left in the game.
Prior to that play, the Bulldogs, which managed just 10 yards, had its best field position on Drew's 45-yard line after it forced a turnover on downs and didn't pick up a first down on its own accord until 1:09 left in the third quarter.
"We've got to get back to the beginning," Elder said. "We've got to teach fundamentals and teach football. We've got to eliminate mistakes, turnovers and penalties. We've got an identity crisis. We have to find ourselves on offense."
It was Rockdale's 12th straight loss, dating back to the second game of the 2011 season, and its worst loss since falling 44-0 to Clarke Central on Oct. 28 in Michael Etheridge's final season.
After he left, there was turmoil at the top for Rockdale, with another coach, Mario Allen being brought in, but was fired before the beginning of the 2012-13 school year for ethics violations. That's when Elder took over a program he thought would be prepared for the upcoming 2012 season.
"We took a lot for granted that they already knew certain things and it's coming back to bite us right now," Elder said. "We've got to get back to basics."
Friday night, the offense wasn't the only aspect of the game in which Rockdale struggled as its special teams gave up two punt returns for touchdowns a kickoff return for a touchdown and another big punt return that led to a touchdown.
"I've got to take full responsibility for special teams," Elder said. "I tried to rest guys who weren't coming off the field. We tried to go with some more people and that backfired on us tonight."
The Bulldogs defense, which gave up 85 yards of offense in the first half, made adjustments in the second and let up just 12 despite the fact that Drew had six second-half possessions.
"We were trying to do some knew things in the first half and I just didn't feel comfortable with those," Elder said. "We went back to some of the things we have been doing well with so far."
Rockdale managed minus-12 yards of offense in the first half, and fumbled five times, recovering all five.
The Bulldogs opened the game with just three yards on six plays. The series was extended only because of a personal
foul by Drew on third-and-5 on Rockdale's 30 yard line.
Things would get worse from there as Drew's Marquis Terry returned the first punt of the game 75 yards for a touchdown just 2:59 into the first quarter.
Rockdale sputtered on its next possession as well, and was forced to punt from its own 10. The Titans, however, muffed the punt and Rockdale recovered around the same area it kicked from.
The Bulldogs' third offensive possession of the day, though, went like the first two. The Bulldogs were chased in their own end zone, and chose to throw it out the back of the end zone for a safety 8-0.
Receiving the kickoff after the safety, Drew got another big return from Terry to set up a 33-yard field. The Titans capitalized on the field possession as Jay Murray hit Kwamie Jackson for a 5-yard touchdown pass. The Titans missed their second extra point of the game, but still led 14-0 with 1:26 left in the second quarter.
In the third quarter, Rockdale faced another offensive issue. This time it was a turnover. Quarterback Ronzell Teague threw an interception into the outstretched hands of Drew's Ben Kittler on Rockdale's 25-yard line.
The Titans turned the interception into seven more points, following Jordan Metts' 10-yard touchdown run and the extra point with 1:20 left in the second quarter.
Drew added a touchdown at the very beginning of the second half on Maurice Cash's 90-yard kickoff return.
Drew returned another punt for a touchdown by Terry for 65 yards and connected on a field goal to round out the scoring.
Rockdale, which hasn't won since a 17-13 home victory over Winder-Barrow in the 2011 season opener on Aug. 26, hosts Langston Hughes High School on Friday.