Leesville got out to a fast start but its young defense struggled to contain Peabody's run game.
The Wampus Cats will have to regroup heading into the postseason after falling 45-28 Friday night on the road.
"You have to get ready for the next round of your season," Leesville head coach Robert Causey said. "Peabody lined up and came right at us. We ended up playing 10 underclassmen on defense. For some of them, it was their first varsity game. Peabody took advantage of the big kids they had up front and their good running back. They just went straight ahead at us – nothing fancy. We threw everything at them, and they were just better than we were."
Running back Arthur Lavalais was a force for Peabody, racking up 285 yards and six touchdowns.
Leesville went up 14-0 on a 35-yard touchdown by Caleb Gallashaw early in the first quarter, but Peabody battled back to take a 27-21 lead into the break.
"Credit to Coach (Justin) Scogin," Causey said. "They dialed up 28 points and played well enough for us to give us a chance to win. We just couldn't get off the field, defensively.
"They watched film, and other than Northwood, they knew the recipe to have success against us. When you're so small up front, you run and pound them into submission. It doesn't surprise me that they were going to stick with it. They just needed a couple of stops."
Leesville running back D'Ante Gallashaw recorded a 17-yard touchdown in the third quarter to make it 33-28, but the Warhorses added a pair of touchdowns in the fourth to seal the win.
The Wampus Cats finished the regular season with a 6-4 record and a fourth-place finish in district. They loaded the schedule in the non-district to prepare for a postseason run, and Causey hopes it will pay off.
"You play who you can play," he said. "We played teams that we thought could get us ready and challenge us. I think some of our opponents have gotten us ready, but you get it there and try to avoid New Orleans as long as you can."