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Off and Running
The wait for football is over finally. Heres a breakdown of how the three Conyers-area teams look
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Rockdale County players run sprints at the conclusion of practice. The Bulldogs, along with other area schools Heritage and Salem, started fall practice last week.


Head Coach: Chad Frazier

2008 Record: 5-5 (three-way tie for 6th place)

Key Players: Rufus Jenkins (DL), Garry Peters (Athlete), Devon Stainrod (C), Calvin Vann (LB), Andre Wilson (QB)

The Word: Coach Frazier faces no lack of competition in the area, and just in the county for that matter, as he tries to notch his first winning season at the Patriots’ helm. The school hasn’t had a winning record since 2005, but that looks like it might end with this year’s roster, which is loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. Although Frazier calls the highly-recruited Peters "the best athlete I’ve ever coached," he’s not yet a leader on the field. Frazier will look to Wilson to run the offense, while Jenkins and Vann will try and pick up the defensive slack left by the graduations of Justin Jones (East Carolina) and Melvin Jones (Presbyterian). — Nick Margiasso

Coach Says: "We’ve spent the offseason putting players in high-pressure situations in practice and making sure they know the system early on."


Head Coach: Michael Etheridge

2008 Record: 5-5 (three-way tie for 6th place)

Key Players: Rashad Ferrell (LB), Byron Lawrence (SS), Brandon Story (K), Kyle Tiffins (RB), A.J. Ward (RB), Devon Washington (LB)

The Word: The Bulldogs started out with a bang, winning the team’s first three games including sweeping area opponents Heritage and Salem all before the middle of September. But Coach Etheridge’s boys were shut out three times the rest of the way, and lost a 7-6 game against Loganville with playoff implications after failing to convert a 4th-and-goal. This squad is full of top-flight defenders trying to put last year’s swoon out of their minds, though. BCS-recruit Washington and the talented Ferrell lead a stable of stingy speed up front on defense, which will be Rockdale County’s calling card. — Nick Margiasso

Coach Says: "We’re going to be pretty darn good. I’m not going to say we’re going 10-0 or beat the world, but we’re going to be overly competitive."


Head Coach: Chad Estes

2008 Record: 5-5 (three-way tie for 6th place)

Key Players: DeJone Butler (LB), Bradley Moon (RB), Jasijah Smith (QB)

The Word: Although the Seminoles lost key leaders Sam Watts (Mississippi State) and Brandon Hill (North Carolina A&T) on the line from either side of the ball to the college ranks, Coach Estes is content with his team’s solid chemistry. Offensive stalwarts Smith and Moon will run a fast-paced offense that should challenge defensive units on any region team. The Seminoles were outscored 47-17 in their final two games of 2008 after setting themselves up for a playoff spot. That probably won’t happen again with this high-octane backfield. The defense will have to catch up, though. If it can, it will be a good year to be a ’Nole. — Nick Margiasso

Coach Says: "Let’s just say that we’re running a kind of spread offensive scheme and leave it at that. I don’t want to get too into what we are working on over here."