Tuscaloosa County High Defeat Paul Bryant in Season Opener
Friday Night Lights are setting up across the state as high school football starts a new season. In Cottondale, Ala., on a humid Friday evening, the stage was set for the Tuscaloosa County Wildcats to defeat a cross-town, non-conference rival, the Paul Bryant Stampede, 59-34.
It was all blue and white as Tuscaloosa County dominated throughout the first half, scoring 33 points, controlling the game clock, and capitalizing on its opponents' mistakes.
Bryant looked sloppy from the get-go: a first snap fumble, was one of three fumbles by the Stampede; a missed extra point, and failed 2-point conversion. Plus, they were without their starting quarterback. Cameron Ellis, Bryant QB, exited the game after an early injury, and WR Tobias Burrell replaced him for the first half. Ellis re-entered the game in the third quarter.
However, the momentum did begin to shift towards the home team, Paul Bryant, after a kickoff return for a touchdown as time expired for halftime, getting the ball to start the third, and getting a quick touchdown drive to put them within two possessions(33-18). County High, however would dig in to make sure that was the closest the game would get.
“It was a good opener for us, a good test for us, and we see exactly what we need to do to move forward,” said Paul Bryant head coach Eldrick Hill. “We need to get physical, we need to be stronger.”
Although the Stampede tried to rally towards the end, with a called back touchdown with ten minutes left to go in the game, it was not enough to overcome the strength and size of the Wildcats, who scored three touchdowns in the fourth quarter to seal the game.
Tuscaloosa County head coach Adam Winegarden said he was happy with the team’s performance in his first game with the program. “We played consistent enough, offensively we were able to score points that kept us ahead, gave our defense time to make plays when they needed to, it was just a consistent effort throughout the game.”
It wasn’t all bad for Paul Bryant. Two offensive players showed not only their potential, but also that they could be a threat throughout the season: double threat WR/QB senior Tobias Burrell showed his speed and his arm, and can be a big weapon both ways. Also, RB/WR junior Jordan Louie has unreal speed and stamina that can keep him pushing forward.
Next Friday, Tuscaloosa County takes on Hillcrest at home next Friday, and Paul Bryant faces Lanier(Montgomery). Both are home games and will kick off at 7 PM.
Tuscaloosa County Wildcats vs. Paul W. Bryant Stampede
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