An expected battle between two of Metro Nashville's best quarterbacks turned into a one-sided rout.
Maplewood's Chris Simpson ran for a touchdown and threw for another as the Panthers (2-0) shut down Pearl-Cohn quarterback Deaunte Mason and shut out the Firebirds 20-0.
Simpson ran for a 26-yard touchdown in the second quarter and threw to Troy Motley for a 26-yard score in the third. Simpson set up the Panthers' last score in the fourth quarter with a 32-yard run to the Pearl-Cohn 5-yard-line. Running back Markus Cantrell scored the 5-yard touchdown on the next play.
The Firebirds' Mason, on the other hand, didn't enjoy much success against the Panthers defense. Mason ran for five total yards, was 7-of-13 through the air with one interception and was sacked twice by Maplewood's Marcus Bowins.
"We had to be strategic with our blitzes," said Maplewood coach Ralph Thompson. "Any time you've got a great quarterback and you let him sit back there, he'll tear us apart."
The Panthers defense held Pearl-Cohn (1-1) to 49 total yards.
Simpson ran for 98 yards and a score and was 3-for-8 for 49 yards and a touchdown. Cantrell ran for 136 yards — mostly in the first half — with one touchdown.
Thompson said Simpson's leadership is a big reason why the Panthers are 2-0.
"Chris is a special kid," Thompson said. "On every team you need one guy that you say, 'He's not going to let us lose.'"