Story by Griffin Pritchard | Publisher
Photos Courtesy Chambers Academy
CENTRAL ALABAMA SCOREBOARD OFFICE – A sleeping giant has been growing in Lafayette, Alabama. A program that over the span of five seasons has amassed 60 wins and played in six state championship games, winning championships in 2018 and 2020.
“Our expectations are to repeat as state champions,” said Chambers Academy Football Coach Jason Allen. “I think our program has earned the right to have that expectation each year. It won’t be easy, as I expect (Class AA) to be once again very strong in our league again this season. I know our senior class has it’s sights set on finishing their careers with a bang and I’m excited to see what they can do their last hurrah.”
Before everything ends but the shoutin’ for these seniors they can reflect on the program’s success thus far: Chambers Academy has won the region championship from 2016-2020.
Last season (despite a shootout loss to Edgewood), Chambers outscored their opponents 447-120, pitching shutouts in wins over Abbeville Christian and Springwood and limiting Lee-Scott, Lowndes, Valiant Cross (Montgomery), Macon East and Banks to a combined 33 points (roughly one score each per game).
Allen: “We finished last season as state champions in what could be described as one of the greatest, if not the greatest achievements in the history of our program. It was a magical year and we were dominant for most of it. Our kids expect to win each time we play and that’s a big part of the reason we’ve been successful.”
Allen – doesn’t make that statement lightly – since he’s been the coach of the Rebels for the past 16 years.
Chambers – in the playoffs – bounced Autauga in the first round and avenged a mid-season loss to Edgewood in the semifinals.
In the season finale, the Rebels upended Escambia 36-34 to hoist the trophy.
But that was then and now, Chambers has the advantage of a preseason sans Covid Protocols.
“The biggest issue we had last season was the unknown as far as whether our opponents or us may come down with cases,” said Allen. “We were very fortunate not to lose any games due to the pandemic. This summer has been business as usual. Our kids are hungry to defend the title.”
There’s a lot on the line for the Rebels coming into the fall as the coaching staff is tasked with managing the expectations of a large senior class.
“Our senior class is definitely our leaders and we have a very large class of 20 seniors, so we are laying a lot on them,” said Allen. “They are a very talent group and all eyes are on them each practice. We will go as far as they take us.”
The Rebels will be tasked with replacing four of their five starting offensive linemen: guards Jacob Oliver and Dean Sheffield and tackles Luke Keel and Austin Fetner.
The biggest challenge for Chambers will replacing AISA Player of the Year, quarterback Payton Allen.
Allen: “It’s been a long time since anyone else around here has taken a snap, so that’s a huge void as well.”
There’s not much time to hold signal-caller auditions though as the Rebels will hit the ground running this fall hosting Lee-Scott and Springwood in the first two weeks and then traveling to Abbeville Christian (Class A Runners) and then Lowndes Academy.
Lowndes, as Allen says, is one of those teams that are always “scrappy.”
Allen: “It should be an interesting start to the season.”
Story by Griffin Pritchard | PublisherPhotos By Brian Tannehill | Director of Photography CENTRAL...