Cougars fall 55-18 to Chambers Academy in first round of state playoffs
Published 10:09 pm Friday, November 3, 2023
By Pacey Strickland
Chambers Academy came out in dominant fashion as the Rebels dispatched Escambia Academy 55-18 tonight in the first round of the AISA state playoffs.
“I thought we came out playing hot,” Chambers Academy coach Jason Allen said. “I didn’t think there was any letdown. We’ve got to try to get ready to win a state championship.”
Chambers Academy was firing on all cylinders from the word go. The Rebels drove 67 yards on the opening drive and Luke Tarver found the end zone on a 16-yard touchdown. Tarver converted the two-point conversion to give Chambers Academy an early 8-0 lead.
Escambia Academy’s offense had trouble getting out of the gate. The Cougars’ first five offensive drives resulted in three punts and two turnovers on downs.
The Rebels turned the ball over on their second drive but found the end zone again after a stop on defense. Kole Baker connected with Koreen Henry for a 49-yard touchdown pass. TJ Daniel converted the two-point conversion to give Chambers Academy a 16-0 lead with 6:38 left in the first quarter.
Daniel found the end zone on a 13-yard rush on the next drive, and Chambers Academy led 22-0 after the failed two-point conversion. Then, Daniel scored again on a 24-yard rushing touchdown. The missed extra point left Chambers Academy with a 28-0 lead at the end of the first quarter.
Chambers Academy continued to pile on as Baker found Ryan Smith for a 36-yard touchdown pass. The Rebels missed the extra point but still took a 34-0 lead with 10:45 left in the second quarter.
Allen had seen improvements in the passing game all season, and the Rebels leaned on it Friday night.
“I just felt like we were getting better at throwing all year, and I wanted to give our guys a lot more confidence here in the playoffs,” Allen said.
The Cougars found some momentum as Quinton Odom mossed a defender for a 67-yard touchdown reception. The failed two-point conversion cut the lead to 28.
Escambia Academy looked to have a game-changing interception as Cam Bryan picked off Baker. Then, Landon Hand dislodged the ball and the Rebels instead took over just 15 yards away from the end zone. A few plays later, Baker scored on a two-yard quarterback sneak. The extra point gave Chambers Academy a 41-6 lead at halftime.
A running clock shortened the second half, but there was still a plethora of offense. Coston connected with Odom on a 25-yard touchdown pass to make it 41-12 with 6:26 left in the third quarter.
Chambers Academy responded in the final quarter as Landon Hand found Parker Otto on a 24-yard touchdown pass. Hand converted the two-point conversion to give the Rebels a 49-12 lead with 4:50 left in the game.
Hunter Andrews intercepted Coston’s pass, and Jack Nelms scored on the next play to give Chambers Academy a 55-12 lead. The Cougars went with a no-huddle offense on the final drive, and Coston connected with Odom again on a 27-yard touchdown pass as time expired.
The defense has been Chambers Academy’s calling card all season, and that proved true again on Friday night.
“It’s been good all year, hasn’t it,?” Allen said. “All year we’ve gotten better and better.”
The win moved Chambers Academy to 10-1 on the season. The Rebels host Patrician Academy next week in round two of the AISA playoffs.
The Cougars ended their season 3-8.