Rockdale’s Shad-I Dawkins scored two goals and assisted on another, and goalie Jordan Morris posted a clean sheet as the Bulldogs boy’s soccer team played its most complete match of the season Tuesday night, blanking Walnut Grove 5-0 in a non-region match at Rockdale Stadium.
With the victory, the Bulldogs improved to 7-4 on the season, while the Warriors dropped to 4-8 for the year.
“We’ve put a new formation in there. We have a new addition of some young, key players,” Rockdale coach Alf Holst said. “The Woodruff twins (freshmen Jesse and Shane) are really key to it. I started another freshman this game, Joel Cazares, he started in the middle. I have some experienced players, so we have a great mix of players.”
Rockdale dominated the midfield from the opening kick and got on the scoreboard at the 15:44 mark of the first period as Dawkins scored unmarked on a Walnut Grove defensive breakdown. The Bulldogs had a corner kick that the Warriors couldn’t clear and Dawkins hung around the middle of the penalty box and scored on a slow roller past Warriors’ keeper Collin Wynn, giving Rockdale a 1-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, the Bulldogs turned up the defensive pressure as Walnut Grove was stuck in its defensive zone for much of the period. A key substitution by Holst came when he put senior forward Devon Dawkins in the match.
“I put in one of my experienced players, Devon Dawkins, in the second half and he really changed the game,” Holst said.
Using excellent offensive spacing, movement and passing – “tiki-taka” style Holst explained - the Bulldogs broke the match open as they scored three goals in less than five minutes.
Junhan Pang put Rockdale up 2-0 with 22:43 left in the match as he took a beautiful pass from Shad-I Dawkins to the left of the goalie box and fired the ball past Wynn.
Shad-I Dawkins added his second goal of the match 94 second later on a steal and an unassisted goal, giving the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead.
Second-half sub Devon Dawkins scored his goal on a 30-yard screamer with 17:57 left in the match, extending Rockdale’s lead to 4-0.
At that point in the match, Holst rested his starters and gave his bench players some valuable playing time.
“I have a bunch of guys on my bench, and I trust my players,” Holst said. “I can put in any one of them in any position and they want to play that spot.”
Rockdale’s Bryan Mais scored the Bulldogs’ final goal with just a few seconds left in the game for the 5-0 victory.
The Bulldogs are back on the pitch Friday as they host region rival Newton County. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.