Photos by Jerry Jackson
Drew’s defensive players swarm to a Rockdale ballcarrier in the first half of the Titans’ 42-0 win on Friday at Southern Crescent Stadium.
RIVERDALE — Coming off a season-opening loss, the Drew Titans knew they had to work to get better. Game 2 saw them turn a poor start into a positive, as special teams led the way to a 42-0 defeat of Rockdale County Friday at Southern Crescent Stadium.
“We felt so bad last week about our poor special teams performance,” said Titans head coach Jarrett Laws. “We felt like we had to spend a lot of time trying to correct those things. I’m hoping this was a reflection of the time we spent this week.”
Marquis Terry gave Laws a reason to be hopeful when he took the game’s first punt return up the middle and then down the right sideline for a 71-yard touchdown and a 6-0 lead. Terry would add a 65-yard punt return with 2:41 left in the third quarter to give Drew a 35-0 lead.
In between, the Titans forced Rockdale County punter Jeanick Gourge into a safety as he tried to evade a fierce Drew rush in his end zone. Also, not to be outdone by Terry, Maurice Cash took the opening kickoff of the second half down the left sideline and raced 91 yards for a touchdown for a 28-0.
“With our skill level not being as fast as we were last year, [special teams] is going to be the difference maker for us,” Laws said.
The Titans’ offense and defense also contributed to the decisive win. Quarterback Jay Murray tossed a 6-yard touchdown pass to Kwamie Jackson and Jordan Metts scored on a 9-yard run to give Drew a 21-0 halftime lead. Tracy Gaston capped off the scoring with a 1-yard touchdown run that was set up by a 59-yard interception return by Jallah Neal.
Ben Kittler also registered an interception and the Drew defense held Rockdale County (0-3) to three first downs for the night.
The contest with Rockdale was Drew’s second of four non-division games to start off the season. The Titans were 21-14 losers to Riverdale in their season opener. Drew plays two teams from Division B of Region 4-AAAAA in McIntosh and Starr’s Mill the next two weeks before starting play in Region 4-AAAAA Division A.
“Best thing to happen to us last week was the Riverdale loss,” Laws said. “It opened our eyes. We had to get a reality check. We’re still nowhere near where we need to be. Going into region play, it’s critical that we start to pay attention to some of these finite details that caused us to not be as successful as I would have liked tonight.”