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Bristol football turns tables in win over Academy at Palumbo (PHOTO GALLERY)

PHILA. – With speedy running back Eric Bell and 6-1, 240-pound right guard Xavier Corbin out of the lineup in Friday night’s battle with Academy at Palumbo (AAP), Bristol’s offense struggled to put points on the board in the first half. On one play in the first quarter, the Warriors went five yards in the opposite direction and surrendered a safety when their starting quarterback was tackled in the end zone by Griffins defensive end Rahmeer Silver.

Down 2-0 at the half, that all changed after the intermission. Bristol scored on two of its first three second-half possessions while adding a pick-six to get past Palumbo, 20-8 at the South Philadelphia SuperSite.

“After last week, it was big to come back here this week and win,” said Warriors senior two-way lineman Danny Collins, whose team was coming off a 45-19 loss to New Hope-Solebury. “New Hope is a big strong team and we got some injuries.

“It feels great to come out here with a win tonight. It’s a big morale-booster for the younger guys.”

“With so many injuries, I understood we might come out and plod and misfire. I just wanted everybody to stay calm and keep our composure,” added Bristol head coach John Greiner. “Coach Bob Lebo talked to the kids and settled everybody down at halftime. And the kids responded.”

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Receiving the ball on the second-half kickoff, the Warriors assembled a 12-play, 67-yard touchdown drive that ate up 6:41 of the clock, capped off by a 1-yard bulldozing plunge by senior quarterback Samir Brisbon, who followed Bristol’s entire offensive line into the end zone.

A big play on the drive was a 25-yard burst down the left sideline on a pitch play to senior Deshawyn Cortez, who raced all the way down to the 19 yard line. Later on in the drive, Cortez would add an 11-yard scamper that gave the Warriors a first down at the five. Two plays later, Brisbon put Bristol ahead for good.

“It was a total team effort,” said Cortez, who carried the ball just once before the break for three yards and nine times after for 103. “We just all put our heads up and did what we had to do.”

Trailing 7-2, the Griffins made a huge mistake in strategy on their second possession of the second half. Facing fourth down and three from their own 48, they elected to go for the first down instead of trying to pin the Warriors deep in their own end with a punt.

It took Bristol just three plays to put the ball in the end zone again. This time, the Warriors went to the air with Brisbon finding freshman Khian’Dre Harris with a 3rd-and-11 pass over the middle at the 25. The speedy ninth-grader had just one defender to beat and he did just that for a 49-yard touchdown pass that put Bristol up 13-2 with 9:06 to play in the fourth quarter.

If that wasn’t enough to put this one on ice, then a 30-yard interception return for a touchdown by Cortez on Palumbo’s next play from scrimmage, indeed, was.

While the Warrior defense forced the Griffins to go three-and-out on their next possession, it looked like the home team was ready to return the favor. That is until Cortez raced 35 yards down the right sideline on a fake punt with 6:09 still to play. An ensuing personal foul gave Bristol the ball at Palumbo’s 44 yard line.

The Warriors didn’t score any points on the drive but they were able to take valuable time off the clock. By the time the Griffins got the ball back, there was just two minutes left to play.

Using some nifty running by Engineering & Science junior Demitrius Williams (18 carries/ 68 yds.) and a 12-yard pass to E&S sophomore Moussa Cisse, Palumbo pushed the ball down to Bristol’s 29 yard line then scored a touchdown on a Hail Mary pass from E&S senior QB Jayson Davis to Palumbo junior Fred Thompson with no time remaining.

With Bell out of the lineup, Greiner started the game with Brisbon at running back. Sophomore Anthony Lynn was playing under center. That all changed after the safety, however, with Brisbon taking the remainder of the snaps, from there.

“I have two young boys and I hope they grow up like Samir,” said Greiner. “He does so much for the school, for the community, for his family. He doesn’t miss a practice; he works hard.

“He’s a model citizen in my mind just like Danny Collins – the two seniors. If my two boys grow up like Samir and Danny, I’d be the happiest person in the world.”

The win pushes the Warriors to 3-1 and drops the Philadelphia Public League Griffins to 1-3.

Bristol’s opponent Friday night was a collective of student-athletes from the Academy at Palumbo (AAP), Engineering & Science and the Philadelphia High School for the Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA).

Next up for the Warriors is Springfield (MontCo) 7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 at Bristol.

Bristol 20, Academy at Palumbo 8

(Sept. 22 at South Phila. SuperSite)

BRISTOL (3-1, 0-1)            0 0 7 13 – 20

PALUMBO (1-3, 1-1)       2 0 0 6 – 8

First Quarter

AAP — Safety (Rahmeer Silver)

Third Quarter

B — Samir Brisbon 1-yd. run (Kevin Farrell kick)

Fourth Quarter

B — Khian’Dre Harris 49-yd. pass from Brisbon (Farrell kick)

B — Deshawyn Cortez 30-yd. interception return (kick failed)

AAP — Fred Thompson 29-yd. pass from Jayson Davis

Contact Steve Sherman at ssherman@21st-Centurymedia.com or @BucksLocalSport on Twitter

TOP PHOTO: Bristol did it with defense in Friday’s win over the Academy at Palumbo. Here, Griffins running back Demitrius Williams (21) is pulled down by senior Danny Collins (52) and junior Allen Reyes (23). Junior Mike Are (13) looks on. (Steve Sherman – 21st-Century Media)

Bristol 20, Academy at Palumbo 8

(Sept. 22 at South Phila. SuperSite)

BRISTOL (3-1, 0-1)            0 0 7 13 – 20

PALUMBO (1-3, 1-1)       2 0 0 6 – 8

First Quarter

AAP — Safety (Rahmeer Silver)

Third Quarter

B — Brisbon 1 run (Farrell kick)

Fourth Quarter

B — Harris 49 pass from Brisbon (Farrell kick)

B — Cortez 30 interception return (kick failed)

AAP — Thompson 29 pass from Davis

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