The Northwestern and Nation Ford football teams totaled 80 points in a thriller last season and entered Friday's game with a combined average of a shade less than 80 points per game.
Conventional wisdom said 80 points would light up the scoreboard at District Three Stadium on Friday.
The shootout didn't start until the second half.
Northwestern's defense set the tone early, and the Trojans matched the Falcons the rest of the way for a 44-19 win.
Northwestern (4-1) limited Nation Ford (3-2) to 50 yards in the first half.
"We ran into a real tough defense," Nation Ford coach Michael Allen said. "They kind of had our number. To be honest, I thought we fought like heck to stay in the ball game in the first half."
The Trojans grabbed a 3-0 lead on Sully Foy's 29-yard field goal with 1:53 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Mason Rudolph set up the score with three scrambles for 23 yards.
"We had a good game plan," Northwestern coach Kyle Richardson said. "We knew they had two really good skill position players, and we did a good job executing our defense."
Linebacker Shug Baxter's sack left the Trojans inside Nation Ford territory again, and six straight runs put Northwestern on the 1-yard line. Nation Ford's defense held, but Foy kicked a 22-yard chip shot for a 6-0 advantage with 7:58 left in the half.
Rudolph found rhythm on the next drive with a pair of screen passes to Marcus Marshall and B.J. Boyd that totaled 33 yards. The Trojans marched to the 4-yard line again, and this time Rudolph reversed field on a busted play and found a wide-open Boyd for a 4-yard touchdown. Foy added a 30-yard field goal with 1:16 left in the period, and Northwestern led 16-0 at halftime.
It didn't take long to add more.
Devante Gibson fielded a short kick to start the second half, and weaved to the sideline before cutting across the field and racing for a 74-yard touchdown.
Nation Ford broke the shutout with a six-play 70-yard drive capped by a 3-yard score by Daniel Jackson, but the two-point conversion pass failed.
Jackson finished with 19 carries for 102 yards.
The Falcons threatened again after Brandon Sturdivant took a direct snap on a fake punt 17 yards into Northwestern territory.
Cameron Wells' ensuing 22-yard scramble led to a 4-yard touchdown for Jackson, and Nation Ford trailed 23-13 with 2:27 left in the third quarter.
Northwestern answered in less than two minutes.
Rudolph rattled off completions of 18 and 16 yards, and freshman Dupree Hart ripped off a 24-yard touchdown run. Hart finished with 92 rushing yards and seven catches for 45 yards.
"I feel like we're getting in a rhythm," Gibson said. "We're only going to get better and better with each week."