10/2/2013 6:00:00 AM Rebels drive past Canton Academy
It takes less than an hour to get from Madden to Canton but that didn't stop the Leake Academy offense from going on some long drives Friday night.
The Rebels scored on drives of 10, 11 and 17 plays as they improved to 3-0 in district play with a 21-3 win over rival Canton Academy.
With the win, the Rebels improve to 4-2 on the season and won back-to-back games for the first time this season. Leake will host district foe Winston Academy on Friday night in the first of three straight home games after playing three straight on the road.
"It was a big win in several ways," Leake Academy coach Brian Pickens said. "It was big because it was a district game and that makes us 3-0 in the district. It was big because we did a good job of putting some long drives together and we played really well on defense."
After holding Canton to a 33-yard field goal, the Rebels went on the first of three time-consuming drives, the first one going 17 plays featuring the running of John Forrest Sisson and Taylor Nazary, along with a 24-yard pass from Alex Shepard to Drew McMillan. The Rebels punched it in the end zone on fourth down when Shepard found McMillan in the end zone. Sisson booted the PAT and Leake led 7-3.
"Our offense showed a lot of maturity," Pickens said. "It's difficult to put together long drives like that without a penalty, somebody missing an assignment or lining up in the wrong place. We did a good job of executing our offense."
After a quick three-and-out by the Canton offense, Leake went marching again on offense, this time on an 11-play, 57-yard drive that ended with Shepard scoring from 3 yards out on a quarterback keeper right before the half.
"Alex played his best game so far," Pickens said. "It's just going to take time for him to get comfortable in the offense and I thought he looked comfortable out there Friday night."
The homestanding Panthers threatened twice in the second half but a pair of interceptions by Sisson and Adam Hollis helped stall Canton drives.
Then with about seven minutes remaining in the contest, the Rebels put the game away with a 12-play, 96-yard drive that chewed up more than six minutes of clock. Shepard capped off the drive by calling his own number again and scoring on a 13-yard keeper. Sisson's PAT gave Leake a 21-3 lead.
Leake finished the night with 227 yards rushing and 101 passing for 328 yards of total offense. Nazary led all Leake rushers with 102 yards on 20 carries. Sisson had 59 yards on 14 carries. Shepard was 5-of-9 passing for 101 yards and one touchdown. Canton managed 162 yards of total offense with 98 rushing and 64 passing.