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Demopolis dumps Central

TUSCALOOSA – DaMarcus James turned in another epic performance in the Druid City Friday night, rushing for 320 yards and three scores on 25 carries in Demopolis’ (2-1, 2-0) 53-8 win over region foe Central-Tuscaloosa (0-3, 0-2).

“He plays well up here, he really does,” Demopolis head coach Tom Causey said of James, who rushed for 293 yards on 42 carries in last December’s Class 5A state championship game at Bryant-Denny Stadium. “Maybe that’s an omen. We’ve got two more games up here and I hope he does the same thing in those two.”

For James, who has now rushed for a combined 838 yards in his last three trips to Tuscaloosa, Friday’s was just another game at another field.

“I guess it is just away games,” he said of his road success. “I like to go to a new field and see how I can move on a new field.”

James answered that question early Friday, amassing 51 yards on seven carries in the Tigers’ opening drive. The 11-play march culminated on a one-yard touchdown run by James Wilson, who also had a 21-yard pass reception during the drive. Cameron Fendley’s extra point put the Tigers up 7-0 with 7:45 to go in the first quarter.

“We started out real sluggish,” Causey said, characterizing his team’s play following its opening possession. “We got that first drive and then sat back on our heels. We played with no energy.”

Two possessions later, Demopolis got 61 yards from James on three carries that led the Tigers all the way to the Falcon 9 yard line before a botched exchange between center and quarterback handed Central the ball.

Central ultimately punted out of its own end zone, setting Demopolis up 23 yards away from doubling its lead. The three-play drive featured two James runs, the second of which coming in the form of a 17-yard touchdown sprint. Fendley’s point after proved true, stretching the lead to 14-0 with 8:03 to play in the first half.

On its next possession, Demopolis again turned to James for the heavy lifting. The senior toted the ball on six of the Tigers’ eight plays before Wilson capped the march with his second score of the first half. Fendley put the ball through the uprights to make the lead 21-0.

Demopolis added one more score before intermission when it went 25 yards in four plays, scoring on a quarterback keeper by Ben Pettus. The extra point attempt was blocked, leaving the game at 27-0.

Wiley Isaac then picked off a Central heave to preserve the lead going into the half.

Through the first two quarters of play, James had amassed 172 yards on 20 carries. He wasted little time adding to those totals in the second half.

On their first possession of the second half, the Tigers went 68 yards seven plays. James accounted for 55 of those yards, getting the last of them on a 30-yard touchdown run. Fendley added the PAT to make it 34-0 in DHS’ favor.

James’ final feat of the night came during the Tigers’ next possession. After Central unleashed a 48-yard punt to pin the tigers back at their own four, No. 4 burst up the middle for eight yards before taking a breather while Wilson moved the sticks on a three-yard run. James then broke through the left side for an 84-yard rumble to the shadow of the Central goal line.

He punched it in himself on the next play, pushing the Tiger lead to 40-0 on his final run of the night, leaving the game midway through the third quarter with the first 300-yard rushing performance of his career.

Senior defensive end Reid Barkley added to the Falcon misery four plays later, scoring on a 17-yard interception return.

“It was unbelievable,” Causey said of the play. “Big Reid works hard everyday. He’s having a great year. You don’t get too many chances like that to score.” Demopolis made it 53-0 when Tre Dotson added his first touchdown of the season on a five-yard run.

Central got on the scoreboard with a safety on a blocked punt in the fourth quarter before adding a touchdown on a one-yard plunge.

Defensive leaders for the Tigers included Taylor Simpson, who recovered a fumble. Terrance Charleston and Tremaine Irby each recorded six tackles while Matt Barger and Spence Overstreet had five apiece.