Leake Academy's John Forrest Sisson scores for the Rebels in their victory over Tri-County Friday night.
Leake Academy's John Forrest Sisson scores for the Rebels in their victory over Tri-County Friday night.
After an embarrassing 24-0 loss to Simpson Academy last week, Leake Academy coach Brian Pickens told his football team he wanted somebody to step up and be the leader.

Apparently, John Forrest Sisson took Pickens' words to heart.

The senior from Philadelphia had 86 yards rushing on 19 carries, scored one touchdown, kicked a field goal, booted three kickoffs into the end zone and delivered a big hit late in the game that led to an interception as Leake ended Tri-County Academy's 31-game winning streak with a 17-7 win on a soggy Friday night in Flora.

With the win, Leake improves to 3-2 on the season and 2-0 in district play. Tri-County, which was ranked No. 2 in Class AA, falls to 4-1 on the season.

"Coming off of last week's loss, I thought the kids responded well," Pickens said. "I really challenged them after the Simpson game, and they really stepped up. I was really proud of the defensive effort. It was the first time we have played four quarters of hard-nosed football on defense this season. With the weather conditions, the line and the backs were just going to have to smash it, and that's exactly what we did."

After forcing a Tri-County punt on the first series of the game, Leake drove inside the Tri-County 30 before throwing an interception. Two plays later, Leake's Jacob Patterson intercepted a Tri-County pass and returned it to the Tri-County 9. Two plays later, Sisson scored on an 11-yard run and booted the PAT to give Leake an early 7-0 lead.

After forcing another Tri-County punt, the Rebels put together an eight-play drive that ended with Sisson booting a 25-yard field goal for a 10-0 lead.

"I thought J.F. had the best game of his career," Pickens said. "Offense, defense, special teams, he really stepped up his game. I thought J.F. did a good job of pinning them deep on punts, and our offense did a good job of flipping the field on them several times. We just did a good all-around job on special teams."After trading punts and getting the ball on the Tri-County 43, Leake needed just five plays to punch in another score as Taylor Nazary scored on a 14-yard run in the second quarter to take a 17-0 lead.

"On a wet night, I thought we protected the ball well," Pickens said. "I thought the line did a good job. Toward the end, it was soaking wet, and we were just trying to protect it. They were putting 10 men in the box, and we were still able to run the football at them. The biggest thing is - we got a big district win."

Tri-County got its only score late in the fourth quarter on a busted pass coverage.

"We really got after it on defense," Pickens said. "That's probably the most physical we've been on defense in several years. Morgan Brown had a good game. He had two interceptions and made several big tackles on the perimeter."

Leake returns to action this week against district opponent Canton.

"This week, we have another huge one coming up," Pickens said. "This is where maturity comes in. We have three district games in a row. Now we need to stay focused on our goal, and that's winning a district championship."