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Central beats crosstown rival, Paul W. Bryant, for first time in three years

Paul W. Bryant’s Jaleel Jackson (5) runs past the Central’s defense for extra yardage. (Photo by Alicia Lavender)


TUSCALOOSA | For the first time in three years, the Central Falcons defeated their crosstown rival Paul W. Bryant, 30-9 in a Class 5A, Region 5 area game Friday. 


Central coach Dennis Conner said after a few sleepless nights, he was glad to have this week behind him. 


“One night, I couldn’t sleep,” Conner said. “I got up about 2 o’clock and just put the whole game plan together right then. Once I did that, I felt real good about it. The kids responded to it real good.”


Central started the game with a 100-yard kickoff return called back on an unsportsmanlike penalty call. At its own 8, Bryant’s defense stepped up and sacked quarterback Vincent Davis to put the Stampede up 2-0. 


But Central responded on its next drive when Jemah Guyton scored on a 35-yard run to put the Falcons up 6-2. 


The Falcons scored again on a 15-yard pass from Davis to Robert Bates. Three plays later David Robinson intercepted Bryant quarterback Joe Pradat. Central took advantage of the short field, with Kalias Robertson scoring on a 3-yard touchdown reception.


Down 20-2, the Stampede wouldn’t go away. With three minutes left in the half, at its own 20, Bryant pushed its way down the field with two big runs from Jaleel Jackson. Carlos Moore capped it off with a 20-yard touchdown reception from Pradat to cut the lead 20-9.


Bryant then intercepted Central, but Robinson picked off Pradat once again to stop the Stampede. Central drove in the final seconds, but Robinson’s 35-yard field goal attempt was short.


Robinson finished the game with two interceptions, was 3 of 4 in extra points and hit a 25-yard field goal. He said he felt good heading into the game. 


“I came out ready for the game,” Robinson said. “I was in my zone. I wasn’t paying attention to nobody. I was just playing my game.”


Central held the Stampede scoreless in the second half, but Bryant coach Errol Jones was pleased with his team’s effort.

“We played a lot harder than we played in the past,” Jones said. “Hopefully, that’s a sign that we’re trying to grow. We’re still a young ball club and still have a lot of injuries. 


“I felt that for the first half we played as hard as we could play. In the second half we just ran out of gas. Central’s got a good football team. I don’t take that away from them, but I thought we played hard.”


Central (4-3, 3-2) travels to Pleasant Grove next Friday.


Bryant (0-7, 0-4) hosts Fairfield next Friday.