Leake Academy's season ends with
Wednesday, November 13, 2013 12:00 AM
It's often been said that football is a game of inches.
Leake Academy learned that lesson the hard way on Friday night.
Indianola Academy converted a key fourth-down conversion by a matter of inches in the last minute of the game and scored on the next play and took a 25-24 win in the second round of the Class AA playoffs on Friday at Legion Field.
With the win, the 12-1 Colonels will advance to the AA semifinals and travel to Simpson this week. Leake finishes the season with an 8-4 record.
For Leake, it was a back-and-forth contest that could have gone either way in the final minutes.
"It was a hard-fought game on both sides of the football," Leake Coach Brian Pickens said. "I was extremely proud of the way our kids responded time and time again. They never gave up and fought to the final whistle. I can't find any fault in the way they played.
"When you get to this point, both teams are there for a reason. They had a good game plan and executed it well. They were very physical and their backs ran the ball hard. In the end, it came down to a close spot on a fourth down that they got by the nose of the football. It was just two evenly matched football teams."
Indianola used some good field position early in the game to take a quick 12-0 lead after Leake fumbled on its first possession.
But then the Rebels settled down and put together a scoring drive as Taylor Nazary scored from from 6 yards out. John Forrest Sisson booted the PAT and Leake trailed 12-7 with 1:14 left in the first quarter.
After Sisson recovered an Indianola fumble on the next possession, Alex Shepard hit Sisson on a 5-yard touchdown pass and Leake took a 14-12 lead with 8:40 left in the first half.
That score stood the rest of the half as Leake failed to score inside the Indianola 10 as Shepard was sacked on third down with 10 seconds left in the half.
"That was a huge momentum shift," Pickens said. "That's one of those plays if you had to do over again, you kick the field goal. But I was proud of the way the kids fought back after being down 12-0. That's big time in the playoffs against a team that's pretty good at home."
Leake took its biggest lead of the game in the third quarter when Shepard hit William Johnston on a 22-yard reception - Johnston's first catch of the season. Sisson's PAT gave Leake a 21-12 lead with 2:51 left in the third quarter.
Indianola used it's potent running game and closed the gap to 21-18 early in the fourth.
Leake then put together a long drive but ended up settling for a 27-yard field goal with just over five minutes to play to take a 24-18 lead.
Indianola took the ensuing kickoff and drove the length of the field and faced a crucial fourth and three from the Leake 5. Indianola got the first down by a matter of inches and scored on the next play with 45 seconds left to plan, then made its first extra point of the game for the winner.
On the night, the Rebels had 345 yards of total offense with 220 on the ground and 125 through the air. Indianola had 338 yards of total offense with 312 on the ground.