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It was a tale of two halves at Falcon Field Friday night, as the Central Falcons (2-3, 1-2) hosted their crosstown rival, the Paul W. Bryant Stampede (2-4, 2-2).

After a tough defensive struggle between both teams, they went into the half with the Stampede leading 6-0. Bryant eventually found its offensive rhythm with the help of quarterback Cameron Ellis and athlete Tobias Burrell, and the defense shut down Central star running back Markelious Furr, limiting him to 20 yards on 10 carries on the way to the 30-0 shutout. 

Ellis added two touchdown passes for Bryant, and Burrell contributed 122 all-purpose yards lining up at wide receiver, running back and even quarterback on several plays. 

“We are finally getting a chance to put it together like we were expecting earlier on in the season,” Paul W. Bryant head coach Eldrick Hill said. “Those guys are starting to gel and click and all the pieces are coming together.”

The Falcons opened the game with a drive that ended in a muffed punt, giving the Stampede the ball at the 17-yard line. A few plays later, Ellis connected with wide receiver  Luther Watkins on an 11-yard touchdown.

After a failed two-point attempt, the score was 6-0 Stampede and would remain that way until the end of the first half. Neither team could find productivity as they traded sacks, incomplete passes and stalled drives until the break. 

Bryant’s halftime adjustments seemed to work when they opened up the second half with a five-and-a-half-minute touchdown drive to make it 12-0. The drive was sparked primarily by Ellis, who contributed a 35-yard pass to wide receiver Javion Watkins and another touchdown to Luther Watkins. 

Central failed to earn any points on their next drive, though their defense was able to force Bryant to punt on their next offensive series. Central once again made a costly mistake, fumbling the ball on the punt return and giving Bryant excellent field position.

Three plays later and Bryant was back in the endzone on a quick two-yard rushing touchdown. Another failed extra point attempt made the score 18-0 at the end of the third quarter. 

Things began to get chippy in the fourth, with multiple unsportsmanlike conduct penalties being thrown throughout the quarter. Central was the culprit for several of them, and it aided the Stampede enough to allow them to put up two more rushing touchdowns, putting the game away, 30-0. 

The Falcons now turn their attention to their road regional showdown with Shelby County, and Bryant now moves on to Bessemer City. 

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