By Katie McElvy
The Chambers Academy Rebels eliminated Escambia Academy in the first round of the AISA AA Playoffs on Friday night in a convincing 55-18 win. The Rebels wasted no time finding the endzone as Koreen Henry and Luke Tarver traded out ball carrying duties with Tarver scoring the touchdown and the 2 point conversion. The Rebel defense started the game on fire with Austin Brooks getting two big stops to force the Cougars to punt.
The Rebels scored three more touchdowns in just the first quarter, including a 51-yard touchdown pass from Kole Baker to Henry and two scores by TJ Daniel to put the Rebels up 28-0.
Chambers started the second quarter with a 39-yard touchdown pass to Ryan Smith. This time, the Cougars found an answer with a long endzone pass of their own to get on the board. The Rebels once again began marching down the field, but as they were nearing the red zone, Baker overthrew his receiver, and the pass was intercepted. However, Landon Hand knocked the ball loose on the tackle, and Drew Sheppard recovered it. Baker punched the ball in for the touchdown, and the Spencer Newman extra point was good to put the Rebels up 41-6 going into halftime.
Escambia put together a good drive to open up the second half. They found the endzone on a pass to make the score 41-12 in favor of the Rebels.
In at quarterback, Landon Hand found Parker Otto for a Rebel score. Landon Hand followed with the 2-point conversion to extend the Rebel lead 49-12.
After a Hunter Andrews interception, Jack Nelms broke free on a run up the middle and went 42 yards into the endzone for the final Rebel score of the night. Escambia also found the goal line again, but the deficit was too large to overcome, and the Rebels punched their ticket to the semi-finals with a 55-18 win.
Next, Chambers will host Patrician Academy for the second round. Patrician is predicted to be a big test for the Rebels. The Saints are the reigning AISA AA State Champions as they recorded a 60-0 win over Clarke Prep in the championship game a year ago. Currently, Patrician is 8-3 with losses to Mississippi’s Lamar High School and Lowndes Academy, the current top-ranked team in the AISA. Their only other loss was a close 27-20 match up with Banks Academy in week two. Chambers faced Banks in week four and recorded a 67-18 win over the Jets; however, the style of play of the two teams is very different.
Rebels fans will see some similarities between Chambers and Patrician as the Saints run several plays that have become Rebel staples. Patrician’s biggest strength is their ability to control the clock with short gains on the ground. This week will prove to be a real test for the Rebel defense as they line up against one of Patrician’s most dangerous weapons, Jay Lindsey. Lindsey is a three star tight end who is committed to play for The University of Alabama next year.
The semi-finals have proved to be Kryptonite for the Rebels the last two years, tripping them on their way to the state championship. The winner of this game will advance to Cramton Bowl to play for all the marbles, but the loser will see their season come to an end. This game is shaping up to be another slugfest. Kick-off is set for 7:00 on Thursday at Torbet-Allen Field.