Venson Elder has already experienced a lot in his short four-game tenure as Rockdale's football coach, but it was nothing like Friday night.
Elder led Rockdale to its first win of the season, and the Bulldogs' first in 13 games, dating back to last season, thanks to a 9-0 victory over visiting Morrow.
"Oh man, it feels great, but it really feels great for those kids right there," said Elder, who picked up his first ever win as head coach. "It's been a long time since they won a game, and they deserve that win more than I do."
The Bulldogs' last win came on Aug. 26, 2011, 17-13 over Winder-Barrow at Rockdale. Since then, Rockdale has faced many struggles both on and off the field, including five shutouts, two losses to each of its county rivals and two coaching changes.
Friday night, none of that mattered as Rockdale's defense shutout a Morrow (1-3, 0-1 2-AAAAAA) team that averaged 7.5 points a game coming in.
Rockdale's defense struggled in last week's loss to Langston Hughes but came out strong from the start Friday, providing the only points the Bulldogs would need to snap their streak.
With 1:45 left in the first quarter, the Bulldogs trapped the Mustangs in the end zone for a safety, giving them their first lead of the season.
The Bulldogs' secondary applied pressure all night, including the safety, three interceptions and two key fumble recoveries en route to the victory.
The second of those recovered fumbles, with 1:12 left in the game, sealed the deal and guaranteed the Bulldogs their very first win.
On the other side of the ball, Rockdale's offensive line pummeled the Mustangs' line all night. Junior Kentavious Preston made his presence on the field felt with 2:09 left in the third quarter as he scored on a hard 5-yard run on second down.
Following the long-awaited win, Rockdale and its coach received several congratulations after pledging to one another that its first Region 2-AAAAAA game would be a fresh start. Indeed it was as Rockdale heads to Lovejoy Friday trying to win back-to-back games for the first time since Nov. 20 and 27, 2010.
Elder, who was choked up after the game, took the head job at Rockdale after serving as an assistant and a track coach at Peachtree Ridge for several years. Rockdale brought Elder on after Mario Allen was fired due to ethic violations just months after being hired to replace Michael Eldridge.
"You know I came from programs where we had been winning, but this here is for the guys right there, it's big," Elder said.