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Rockdale sends 10 to All-Region team
rchs2 football seniors

After having its best season in recent years, Rockdale football was rewarded with 10 players on the Region 2-AAAAAA All-Region team Tuesday.

Three members of the 2012 Bulldogs were named to the first team, all on defense.

"I think we did very well for the coaches to feel (we should have players selected), especially those guys who made the first team," Rockdale coach Venson Elder said. "Looking at our region and the teams in our region, we had some pretty good athletes."

Senior Devante Walters was named as the first-team defense's athlete after playing defensive end and linebacker, after being moved from defensive back and receiver in 2011.

"That's probably the biggest one," Elder said. "Looking at the talent of all the other schools, for him to get the nomination, I thought that was pretty good."

Juniors Kentavious Preston and Shakym Peters were also named to the first team from the Bulldogs, earning their way as two of just four members of the class of 2014 on the first-team defense. Preston, a linebacker, and Peters, a defensive back, formed the core of a defense which allowed 25.1 points per game in 10 regular season contests. The Bulldogs other All-Region defensive player, a second-team nominee, was also a junior giving Rockdale a young foundation to build on.

"We have a young team," Elder said. "Getting this recognition from fellow coaches, it's a good position for us."

Other youngsters recognized, were junior Kwesi Mintah at wide receiver, and freshman Tarjee Steel. Steel also received votes for the first team, which was dominated by three Lovejoy receivers, and Sterling Taylor form Morrow. Defensive tackles Robert McCray and Julian McKnight, linebacker Kyle Beyah and freshman quarterback Zuri Minifield were named to the honorable mention All-Region team. Region champions and Class AAAAAA runner-up Lovejoy had 27 players named to the All-Region team, including the Offensive Player of the Year (running back Travis Custis), Defensive Player of the Year (linebacker Nathaniel Norwood) and Special Teams Player of the Year (returner Brandon Davis).

Rockdale was 3-9 in 2012 and finished fourth in the region, earning a playoff berth. It was the first playoff appearance for Rockdale since 2009 when it fell to Clarke Central in the semifinals.

Rockdale won four games in 2010, before winning one in 2011, starting a streak of 13-straight losses, which was ended this season.

Rockdale was led by coach Venson Elder who took over the program after Mario Allen was fired in just months following an ethics violation. Michael Etheridge was released from his coaching duties following the 2011 season.