The Douglass Eagles defeated the Central Falcons, 26-22, before 400 fans at Frederick H. Douglass field today in a Prince George's County Class 2A game.

The Eagles (2-0) dominated the Falcons (1-1) in the first half, but needed a strong special teams play to hang on. Mike Fletcher blocked a punt and Damien Gross returned the ball 32 yards late in the fourth quarter to give Douglass its second lead. The Eagles had quickly lost their first; this time they didn't let go.

"The special teams really bailed us out today," assistant coach Bill Johnson said. "We spend every Monday and Friday devoting all practice to special teams, and obviously it really paid off."

Douglass built a 12-0 lead in the second quarter when running back Truman Washington scored on a four-yard run and quarterback Errick Douglas scored on a one-yard run.

Central, which was lifeless in the first half, made it close by coming out in the third quarter with a wide-open offense that produced immediate results -- three touchdowns in three possessions.

Quarterback Sam Tucker, after a 31-yard completion to wide receiver Otis Covington on first down, hit him again for a 29-yard touchdown. A two-point conversion, on a pass from Tucker to Dwayne Combs, made it 12-8.

The Falcons went ahead minutes later following an Eagles fumble. Tucker wasted little time after the turnover, hitting Covington with a 27-yard touchdown pass. With Tucker again hooking up with Combs for the two-point conversion, Central took a 16-12 lead.

On the Falcons' next possession, Tucker, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound senior, did the honors himself, scoring on a two-yard run. The touchdown came after another Douglass fumble and made it 22-12.

"Central executed really well to get back into the contest," Johnson said. "Tucker threw some tremendous passes. It was scary to watch him for a while."

But then the Eagles surged back.

Washington scored on a 21-yard run in the fourth quarter, cutting Douglass's deficit to four, 22-18, before Gross's return and a two-point conversion run by Dave Fant completed the scoring.

"We look at films of Central a week before and we knew it was going to be a tough game going in," Johnson said. "But the bottom line is, we won the game."