Leake Academy loses tough contest to Simpson

Leake Academy loses tough contest to Simpson


In a game that featured 80 points and almost 1,000 yards of offense, it was a few defensive plays that made the difference.

Simpson used a goal-line stand early in the fourth quarter and denied a late two-point conversion attempt to hold on and take a 41-39 win over Leake on Friday night.

Leake falls to 4-6 on the season and is the No. 9 seed in the Class 5A playoffs and will travel to Silliman on Friday night. 

“Simpson is always a tough place to play,” Leake coach Brian Pickens said. “I give them a lot of credit, they ran it right at us and we couldn’t stop them. I thought our kids played really hard and we were really good on offense. George (Wilcox) threw the ball really well and had another big night. We protected well but have to be better in the run game. It’s a tough game to lose but our kids played hard and showed that they can play with anyone. Now we have to go get ready for a long road trip and get ready to play a good Silliman football team.”

Leake got the ball to start the game and easily marched down the field in four plays as Charlie Brantley scored on a 41-yard run with 6:55 left in the first quarter. Matthew Nowell’s PAT was blocked and Leake led 6-0.

But Simpson answered with a 20-yard run with 4:42 let in the first quarter and hit the PAT to go up 7-6.

The Rebels came back and marched down the field with the short passing game. The Rebels retook the lead with 3:01 left in the first as Brantley scored on a 5-yard run. Nowell hit the PAT and Leake led 13-7.

Simpson answered right back as they hit a big 57-yard pass play with 1:17 left in the first quarter. The Cougars hit the PAT and Simpson led 14-13 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was just as active for each offense. Leake took the ball and went down the field as Wilcox hit Majure Chandler on a 22-yard touchdown pass with 10:14 left in the half. Wilcox also hit Chandler for the two-point conversion and Leake led 21-14.

It was another seven minutes before a score as Simpson scored on a 35-yard touchdown pass with 3:45 left in the half.

Leake again made short work out of the Simpson defense as Wilcox hit Nowell on a 20-yard touchdown pass with 2:56 left in the half. The PAT failed and Leake led 27-21.

But Simpson again hit a big play in the pass game with a 64-yard pass and a with 2:06 left in the half. The PAT was good and Simpson led 28-27 at the half.

Leake got the ball to start the second half but fumbled to give Simpson a short field. The Cougars eventually scored on a 1-yard run and hit the PAT to give Simpson a 35-27 lead with 9:31 left in the third. 

Leake then got a big play in the kicking game as Matthan Weaver returned the ensuing kick 82 yard for a touchdown. The try for two failed and Simpson held a slim 35-33 lead, a score that lasted through the end of the third quarter. 

At the end of the third quarter, Leake got to the Simpson two but failed to get in the end zone on four attempts as the Cougars held.

Simpson extended the lead with 5:06 left in the game as they scored on a 6-yard run with 5:06 left in the game. The PAT blocked and Simpson led 41-33.

Leake quickly moved down the field and scored on a 43-yard pass from Wilcox to Nowell with 4:10 left in the game. But Wilcox’s two-point conversion pass was batted down as Simpson held on to the lead at 41-39. 

Simpson was then able to run out the clock and hold on to take the win.

The Rebels had 367 yards passing and 50 rushing for 417 yards of total offense while Simpson had 332 yards rushing and 219 passing for 551 yards of total offense. 

Wilcox had another big game, going 27-of-34 passing for 367 yards. Nowell had another big game with 13 catches for 155 yards and two TDs. Ben Jackson had six catches for 85 yards while Jack Harkins and Matthan Weaver each had three catches for 44 yards. Brantley led the Leake rushing attack with eight catches for 44 yards and two TDs.

On defense, Camden Marble led the Rebels with 11 tackles while Grayson McDonald had eight stops. Coby Kemp had 7.5 tackles while Tyler Winstead had five tackles. Harkins had three tackles while Nowell, Hagan Bobo and Garrett Joiner each had 2.5 tackles apiece.

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