Rebels roll over Park Place for district win
The Leake Academy football team flexed its muscles on Friday night.
The Rebels used a stingy defense and rugged rushing attack to take a 49-8 win over Park Place to stay undefeated in district play.
The Rebels are now 5-1 on the season and 2-0 in district 2-5A play. Leake will host Madison St. Joseph this week for homecoming in another district contest.
“I thought it was a huge win for our team,” said Brian Pickens, Leake Academy coach. “It was kind of a lopsided score but it was still a big win. Our kids did exactly what they needed to do and executed on both sides of the football. We were able to secure the win early and got the clock running at halftime and got everybody in the game.”
The Rebels were efficient on offense, scoring on every possession in the first half.
Park Place got the ball to start the game but went three and out, giving Leake Academy the ball at the Crusaders’ 48. Leake then needed just four plays to score. After a big 24-yard run by Rhett Atkinson, Canon Parks scored on an 8-yard touchdown run with 9:46 left in the first quarter. Cole Arthur kicked the PAT and Leake led 7-0.
After another Park Place three and out and a short punt, Leake got the ball on the Park Place 35 and needed just four plays to score. Atkinson scored on a 21-yard run with 7:44 left in the first. Arthur’s PAT gave Leake a 14-0 lead.
Park Place again went three and out and gave Leake the ball at their own 47. Leake again needed just four plays to score. Parkes ripped off a 44-yard run and then scored on a 2-yard plunge with 3:58 left in the first. Arthur’s PAT gave Leake a 21-0 lead.
Park Place’s only score of the first half came late in the first quarter. The Crusaders put together three first downs and got as deep as the Leake 33 before being forced to punt, pinning Leake at their own 2. The Rebels went under center but fumbled the snap and gave Park Place the safety.
The Rebels then added three more scores in the second quarter. The first score came as the Rebels went 38 yards in seven plays as Welch scored on a 5-yard run with 8:46 left in the second. Arthur’s PAT gave Leake a 28-2 lead.
The Rebels got the ball right back on an interception by Ethan Dunn, giving Leake the ball at the Park Place 18. Riley Myers then scored on an 18-yard run with 8:14 left in the second to give Leake a 35-2 lead.
Leake again got good field position when Myers returned a punt for 21 yards. The Rebels needed just four plays to score as Welch scored on a 1-yard run with 4:16 left in the half. Arthur’s PAT gave Leake a 42-2 lead at the half.
Leake added one score in the second half, which went quickly with a running clock. That score came with 2:44 left in the third after Nick Gomillion caused a fumble and Dylan Jones recovered. After Jones ripped off a 23-yard run, Welch scored on a 4-yard run and Arthur hit the PAT as Leake led 49-2.
“Our offense and defensive lines completely dominated the game,” Pickens said. “They ended up with negative yards rushing. Park Place was a team that was 3-2 and had some good wins and were undefeated in the district.
“It was a good effort by our defense. And the special teams were really big. Cole is an unsung hero. You don’t realize how nice that is to have a really good kicker. It will spoil you. I thought that was a big part of this game. We were able to kick it out of the end zone and that’s huge and we had good field position almost all night.”
Leake had 272 yards of total offense, all on the ground. Parks led the offense with 68 yards rushing on five carries while Myers had 64 yards on five carries. Atkinson had 54 yards on five carries while Welch had 51 yards on nine carries. Dylan Jones had 29 yards on three carries while Lucas Thomas had 15 yards on five carries.
Park Place had just 124 yards of total offense with 133 passing and minus nine rushing as the Leake defense had 13.5 tackles for loss.
Camden Marble led the defense with five solo and one assist while Gunter Scott had 3.5 tackles, all tackles for loss. Riley Myers and Bryce Watkins each had three solo tackles while Jake Adams and Nick Gomillion each had one solo tackle and three assists. Jackson Freeny, Gavin White and Dylan Jones each had two solo tackles while Ethan Dunn had an interception.
Leake will stay in district play this week as they host Madison St. Joseph for homecoming.
The Bruins are 2-4 on the season with wins over Cathedral (40-0) and East Rankin (48-0). They have losses to Copiah (34-19), Jackson Academy (35-14), Tri-County (52-28) and Simpson (28-21).
“They are a good-looking football team,” Pickens said. “They have all the tools. They have a receiver who can run, a big lineman and a fast defense that will come get you. This is going to be a test. They are a talented football team.”
St. Joseph is in its first season in the MAIS after competing in the MHSAA last year.