There was a day not long ago you could chalk down a win for Salem against Rockdale in soccer, regardless of whether it was a boys or girls game. Those days are history.
After the Lady 'Noles did hold true to form with a 9-1 win over one of its county rivals in the early game, Rockdale's boys exacted revenge and may have changed perception along the way after a 4-2 win.
Boys: Rockdale 4, Salem 2
Rockdale scored three second-half goals to turn a 2-1 halftime deficit into a 4-2 win thanks to a pair of quick goals to start the final 40 minutes.
“Coming into the match I looked up our record versus Salem and we've never scored more than one or two goals against them the past seven years so I put that out to the boys to come out here and play,” Rockdale boys' coach Alf Holst said. “We came out here ready to play.”
Rockdale stuck first after missing two scoring opportunities to open play. After being denied on a pair of close-range shots in the first minute, Shadi Dawkins found the net with 23:56 to play in the opening half.
Rockdale continued to attack, outshooting Salem 8-3 in the first half. Despite the pressure from the Bulldogs, Salem capitalized on its second shot when Rico Pope drilled a shot from 18 yards out and left for the equalizer with 19:56 remaining in the half. The, less than 10 minutes later, Daniel Rodriguez leaked free inside the box to find the net and put Salem up 2-1.
Down a goal, the Bulldogs wasted no time recapturing the lead as soon as the game resumed in the second half. Junhan Pang scored the equalizer with 39:16 left before Dominic Dixon put Rockdale up for good with 36:34 remaining.
“We responded. I was glad because when we got down in that first half, we could have quit,” Holst said. “I've had teams here in the past that would have hung their head after going down a goal like that but we didn't quit. That's a good thing about our squad. We don't give up.”
Salem kept up the fight, attacking when opportunities presented themselves. But the Bulldogs sealed it when Devon Dawkins scored with 15:00 minutes remaining on a free kick.
“We shared the wealth tonight and really kept our focus on this match,” Holst said. “They missed their chances and we were able to make ours there in the second half. It's Salem. They're always a tough team.”
Girls: Salem 9, Rockdale 1
The girls game was much less competitive with Salem topping the Lady Bulldogs 9-1.
Hannah Watkins scored four goals and Tamoi Robinson and Bria Mosley each added a pair of goals for the Lady Salem Seminoles. Chanci Roseberry had Salem's other goal.
“We started off slow but got into a groove after a while,” Salem coach Andre Johnson said. “Our forwards definitely did their jobs today. We switched back to a 4-3-3 today to put more pressure on teams and get more shots and it definitely worked out today.”