The Rockdale County players chanted and hollered all during pregame warm-ups before their game at McIntosh Friday night.
They were even louder once the game started. Heck, they even brought the rain.
The Bulldogs backed up their boasting before the game with a 21-7 win over McIntosh in a storm-shortened scrimmage game on Friday night.
"I think we saw enough even in half a game tonight to see where we’re at," said coach Michael Etheridge as he helped his still fired-up players to the busses as lightning filled the skies. "We came out strong all right."
The vaunted Bulldogs defense swarmed right from the get-go, dirtying the all-white McIntosh uniforms with big backfield hits on the team’s first possession. It didn’t get any better for McIntosh when they gave the ball away either, as the team’s first punt resulted in a 41-yard return by Rockdale’s Kyle Tippins to make it first-and-goal on the Bulldogs’ first possession. Tippins finished the job on a 2-yard sweep to the right side of his bullish offensive line for the opening score.
"Tippins did a good job out there tonight," Etheridge said. "He’s a smart player."
The Rockdale defense stayed hot during the duration of the opening quarter, as defensive lineman Grady Jarrett led the way with one-and-a-half sacks and a tackle for loss.
That same defensive unit lost focus, though, to start the second.
A mixture of missed tackles and bad penalties, along with more precise passing from McIntosh quarterback Cam Porter, helped the home team drive its way down the field. Porter’s 12-yard touchdown pass to Brandon Hannon knotted the score at 7-7, putting the momentum on McIntosh’s side for the first time as the team’s fans made their own celebratory scene in the stands after the score.
Maybe they forgot who came with the commotion the best on this night.
The Bulldogs turned right around and marched down the field with their three-headed rushing attack of Donta London (finished with a game-high 90 yards), Rashawn Binns (finished with 31 yards) and Tippins (totaled 51 yards) to answer McIntosh’s score.
Then quarterback Isaiah Gresham got into the swing of things, switching fields on a scramble to the left and turning back right for a 25-yard scoring scamper with just over four minutes left before halftime. Gresham finished the night 3-for-6 passing for 52 yards and an interception to go along with his net 15 rush yards and a touchdown.
The defense made the play to help cap the game also, as safety Byron Lawrence intercepted a Porter pass at midfield to set up good Bulldogs field position. London put an exclamation point on the win, running up the gut and breaking tackles on a 34-yard touchdown run with 42 seconds left.
Then the storm came. You could argue it had already hit at that point.
Madison County might want to get their ponchos out now ahead of the Bulldogs’ trip up north for both teams’ season opener this Friday at 7:30 p.m.
"I thought we played good, especially on defense early and late," Etheridge said. "We know we have some good backs, and we didn’t even show them all tonight. We have speed on our side."