A former Wilcox County star and Rochelle, Georgia native Alfonzo Dennard --who is now in his second year with the New England Patriots-- had an impact in a Sunday, September 29 game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
Dennard is a 5'11 defensive back who had mainly been a backup in his first two seasons in the NFL, but has received more playing time when fellow teammate and starter Kyle Arrington got injured against Tampa Bay the previous week. So Dennard was able to take more reps in the base defense.
The Falcons featured Pro Bowl quarterback Matt Ryan and one of the most explosive receivers in the NFL in Julio Jones, who is in his third season with the Falcons along with perennial Pro Bowler Roddy White.
Dennard was part of a Patriots' defense that kept the Falcons explosive offense under control for three and a half quarters and withstood a fourth quarter rally which included a pass-breakup in the endzone with less than a minute to go in the game that could have tied the game.
Dennard finished the game with four tackles and two assists.
Dennard made his NFL debut on October 7, 2012 in Week 5 of the 2012 NFL season. He missed the first four games of the season due to a hamstring injury. In his first game appearance, Dennard rotated in with Sterling Moore against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos where he recorded one tackle and didn't allow a pass completion on four targets.
As for the Sunday's game, Patriots' quarterback Tom Brady threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns as the New England Patriots held off an Atlanta comeback and defeated the Falcons 30-23 to improve to 4-0 for the first time since their near-perfect season in 2007.
New England built a 30-13 lead before the Falcons make their final push to comeback.
Despite more playing time for Dennard, the talented defensive back had to deal with some legal issues.
In mid-September, the former University of Nebraska star admitted in a local court in Lincoln, Nebraska that he violated his probation when he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence in July.
According to Jonathan Edwards of the Lincoln Journal Star, a judge in Nebraska ruled that Dennard has violated his probation. That came after a short hearing at which Dennard admitted that he had been drinking alcohol before his DUI arrest.
Dennard has not admitted guilt to drunk driving, and he says he had consumed only two beers, four and a half hours before getting behind the wheel.
Dennard's sentenmcing date is set for December.