Leake Academy has had its problems with Simpson Academy in recent years on the football field.

That didn't change much on Friday night.

The Cougars, the No. 1 ranked team in Class AA, flexed their muscles as they shut down the Rebels in a 24-0 win.

"All I know is we got beat by a good football team," Leake Academy coach Brian Pickens said. "There's a reason they are the No. 1 team in Class AA. They are big and physical. I give them a lot of credit; they imposed their will on us."

The Rebels struggled on offense against a stout Simpson defense, managing just over 100 yards of total offense. Junior Alex Shepard threw three interceptions on the night.

"We did a couple of good things but just couldn't get anything going," Pickens said. "You hate to say it but this was really like a scrimmage for Alex. It's his second game of the season as the quarterback. It takes time to get the passing game going."

Simpson used its dominant running game to take a 17-0 halftime lead and added a second-half touchdown for the final score.

"They run the ball extremely hard," Pickens said. "They didn't do anything fancy, just lined up and ran the football right at us. There were times where we had the play defended well and just didn't make the play. Good teams make the plays when they are in position to."

With the win, the Cougars are now 4-0 on the season while the Rebels fall to 2-2. The Rebels will now hit the road and face two-time defending Class A champion Tri-County Academy in a district showdown for the two teams. Tri-County enters the game with a 4-0 record and owns the state's longest current winning streak at 31.

"We know it's going to be a challenge," Pickens said. "They play extremely hard and know how to win. They've got a very good running back who's going to get his yards. We'll have our hands full. We just have to come back and work hard this week and do the things we do and get after it, it's that simple."