Lovejoy senior receiver Preston Williams showed why he is one of the top recruits in the state as he and the rest of the Wildcats rolled over the Rockdale Bulldogs 43-21 at Reid Stadium.
With the loss, Rockdale evened its record at 3-3, and is 0-1 in Region 2-AAAAAA. Lovejoy improved to 4-2, 1-0 in region play.
Without a doubt, Preston was the best athlete on the field. He had only 66 yard receiving and one touchdown - half his normal yards per game, and one less TD - but he would've easily matched his season numbers if not for some unfortunate penalties by his teammates.
Rockdale took the opening kickoff and marched down the field to open the scoring just 2:12 into the game. The big play was a fake reverse, lateral to quarterback Brandon Edwards who threw a 45-yard completion to receiver Tajee Steele. The play moved the Bulldogs to the Lovejoy 30-yard line. Five plays later, running back Christian Reid took a handoff, slanted off right guard, cut back to the middle of the field and scored from 12 yards out. The extra point try was good, and the Bulldogs had the early 7-0 lead.
Lovejoy would tie the score with a well-executed drive that took 6:11 off the clock. All-state wide receiver Preston Williams had two fourth-down receptions to keep the drive alive, and running back Kevin Morris carried the final four yards to tie the score 7-7 at the 3:41 mark of the first quarter.
Rockdale couldn't move the ball on its next possession, and a 20-yard punt gave the Wildcats the ball on their own 48-yard line with 3:06 left in the quarter.
On its first play, Lovejoy's Williams caught a 25-yard pass, but a holding penalty wiped out the gain. So, on the next play Morris ran the ball 27 yards to the Bulldog 39. A personal foul against Rockdale gave the Wildcats another first down, and two plays later
quarterback Quintarius Neely hit a wide-open Brandon Knight in the end zone with 1:01 left in the quarter to give Lovejoy a 14-7 lead they would never relinquish.
Lovejoy would strike again at the 5:32 mark in the second when Neely tossed a swing pass to senior fullback Chauncey Jackson who rumbled 14 yards around right end for a touchdown and a 21-7 lead.
On its next possession, Rockdale gift-wrapped seven points for the Wildcats as quarterback Brandon Edwards was short on a screen pass. The ball was intercepted by lineman Jashawn Grant, who ran unimpeded for the score. Lovejoy's two-point conversion attempt was good, and the Wildcats, who scored 14 points in 1:13, led 29-7.
The Bulldogs narrowed the margin to 29-14 when Tajee Steele went 52 yards straight up the middle on a third-and-two play for a touchdown.
Lovejoy would score another touchdown as Williams out-jumped the Bulldogs defense on a Hail Mary pass with .08 seconds left in the half. The PAT was good, and the Wildcats led 36-14 going into the locker room at the half.
Rockdale helped Lovejoy to another score as Tajee Steele was picked off by Wildcats defensive back Mesheal Custis with 8:15 left in the period, and Lovejoy took over at the Bulldogs 37-yard line.
From there, Lovejoy's Morris carried four times for the final 37 yard, and the Wildcats were well on their way to victory 43-14 with 18 minutes left in the game.
Rockdale's Reid would score another touchdown on an impressive 25-yard scamper to the end zone with 2:01 left in the game. But, it was too little too late as Wildcats sophomore running back Santo Dunn ran for two first downs and ran out the clock to preserve Lovejoy's 43-21 victory.
Rockdale meets region foe Tucker at Adams Stadium in DeKalb County Friday in another Region 2-AAAAAA tilt. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m.