The Central Falcons picked up its first win of the season after defeating the Paul Bryant Stampede 33-24 in Friday night's regional, cross-town rivalry.

"I thought the kids fought extremely hard. We've been under so much adversity the last couple of weeks. We put them through some different things in practice and tried our best to prepare for the situation. I thought the kids responded well," said Central head coach Rodney Bivens Jr.

Both teams exchanged touchdowns on their opening drives. Central received the ball first, drove down the field 82 yards in four plays, and got on the board with a 70-yard touchdown by running back Shunkeith Turner to go up 7-0.

Paul Bryant went down the field on its first drive, going 50 yards and scoring on a one-yard run by running back Kevin Brown, but a missed extra point kept the lead on Central's side 7-6.

Falcons defensive back Jarell Hodges scored a 23-yard pick-six during the Stampede’s third drive of the game, extending Central’s lead 13-6. 

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The Stampede scored two touchdowns on its last two drives of the half to take the lead going into the break. The first was a six-yard catch by running back Tabious Vanhorn and the second was an 11-yard catch by wide receiver Cam’ron Mccleod after holding Central to a goal-line stand in its previous possession. Both extra points were missed, so Paul Bryant went into the break with the 18-13 lead.

Paul Bryant got the ball to start the second half and scored on a kick-off return by Mccleod, but missed the two-point attempt, making the Stampede lead 24-13.

Central's offensive woes showed in the third half, turning the ball over on downs, and an interception, but thanks to a good punt return, Central cut the deficit to five after a seven-yard rush by Turner and a missed extra point with five minutes to go in the third quarter, 24-19.

The Central defense held the Stampede to one punt and forced two fumbles to keep the game within one score down the stretch.

"We have a lot to work on," said Paul Bryant head coach Eldrick Hill.

The Falcons' last two drives resulted in two touchdowns that won the team the game. The first touchdown came from a four-yard run from quarterback David McNeil, plus a two-point conversion to give Central the lead 27-24. The next touchdown that sealed the game was a two-yard run by Turner after the Falcons recovered a bad snap off of the Stampede special teams in the red zone to make the final score 33-24.

"So we just simply told them to finish. You know, sometimes in life, you know, you simply got to just push through. You know, success sometimes is just right on the other side of a gut check and just find a way to get to the other side and I thought they do an excellent job of just digging deep, you know, canceling out all their emotions, all negative thoughts. They found a way to go do it," said Bivens.

Next week, Central travels to Brookwood and Paul Bryant travels to McAdory. Both kickoffs are set for 7 p.m. CST.


Week 3 Bryant @ Central

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