The Rockdale County Bulldogs dropped their second consecutive game on the road Friday night in Locust Grove, Ga., turning the ball over six times to the Luella Lions in a 28-14 loss.
The defeat drops the Bulldogs to 4-3 overall with a 1-2 mark in region play, while the Lions move up a game over the Bulldogs in the region standings with a 2-1 league record.
Rockdale County was without starting quarterback Zuri Minnifield for much of the night. Minnifield sat out most of the first half before entering the game just before halftime. Minnifield scored twice in the loss for the Bulldogs, but the sophomore quarterback left the field on a stretcher in the third quarter injured after going down on a tackle.
Rockdale County turned to junior varsity quarterback Datrevious Shorter to start the game, but the Bulldogs’ passing unit, which also used back-up quarterback T.J. Warren and running back Targee Steele, did not complete a pass and threw for three interceptions against the Lions’ defense.
The Bulldogs limited Luella to just 88 total yards of offense, outrushing the Lions 180 yards to 52 yards on the ground, but the Lions scored three defensive touchdowns to open the game that sealed the Bulldogs’ road fate.
Luella scored 21 consecutive points to open the contest, finding the end zone twice in the first quarter on back-to-back interceptions.
Shorter threw his first pick to the Lions’ Jaylon Harris. Harris returned the turnover 13 yards for the score and a Giancarlo Malerba extra-point gave the Lions a 7-0 lead.
On the Bulldogs’ next offensive series, Shorter again found the hands of a Luella defender, this time finding Salvador Vasquez on the Lions’ defense. Vasquez grabbed the interception and ran it back 40 yards, extending Luella’s lead to 14-0.
The Lions’ defense again crossed the goalline in the second quarter, scooping up a Rockdale County fumble and returning the loose ball 50 yards for a 21-0 advantage.
Minnifield entered the game with 1:47 remaining in the first half, leading the Bulldogs down the field for a 56-yard scoring drive. Minnifield completed two passes on the drive, hitting wideout Akwesi Mintah on a 21-yard fade route for the Bulldogs’ first score. Rockdale County’s Devon Dawkins cut the Lions’ lead to 21-7 before halftime with the extra point.
Luella opened the second half with a 16-yard touchdown run from Quad Clemmons, but Minnifield answered with a 1-yard touchdown sneak with 8:42 to go in the contest.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, Minnifield exited the game on the next series, ending the hope of a Rockdale County comeback.
Emari Ferguson led Rockdale with 152 yards rushing.
The Bulldogs will return to action next week at home against Newton.