CA Rebels look to close out perfect season Friday
By Scott Sickler
Times-News Sports Editor
LaFAYETTE — He’s by far the most successful coach in Chambers Academy football history and been to the state finals four times (losing all four) but for veteran CA coach and former player Jason Allen, Friday’s AISA 1A state championship showdown against the Patrician Saints is the one final piece of the puzzle in what could be the Rebels best team in school history.
Chambers (12-0) and Patrician (8-4) will meet for the AISA 1A state championship Friday at 12 noon CT at Troy University.
Simply put, CA has done everything they’ve been asked, defeating 12 foes and have beaten teams with overwhelming offense on the ground but used a sterling, team defensive effort last week against Abbeville to earn its spot in the 1A finals. In short, the Rebels can do it all and when they needed players to step up and meet challenges, they did so, particularly last week, with an amazing team defensive effort. CA stopped Abbeville 7-of-8 times inside it’s own 40, including five red zone stops and three inside the CA 10. That’s what a championship team is all about — being relentless and doing what it takes to get the win.
In the finals, CA will clash with Patrician, the other No. 1 seed from the west bracket. “Patrician is a hard-nosed football team that plays extremely hard from start to finish,” Allen said. “They are a mirror image of us on offense as they run the Wing-T and like to control the line of scrimmage with their running game. Defensively, they are only giving up 15 points a game, so they are really stingy on that side of the ball. It will be important for us to play well offensively. We are really excited to be back in this position and representing our school in a state championship contest. We’ve been here before and we know what to expect. Hopefully our past experiences will serve us well and we can bring back the championship that has alluded us for a long time.”
CA is 0-5 all-time in the state finals, losing in 1996 (under coach Ken Fordham, Allen was an assistant), 1999, 2000, 2015 and 2016. Allen has been head coach since 1998 and the Rebels lost a pair of gut-wrenching state finals in 1999 at home at Torbert Field to Autauga (28-27) and in 2016 dropped a heart-breaking, last-minute 34-33 game to Marengo. The Autauga loss in ’99 was even more painful as CA drove the field to score — 92 yards to be exact — in the last few minutes of the game to narrow the deficit to 28-27. They went for the win on a two-point run around the left flank and was stopped just short of the goal line and denied the win.
But as Allen, CA players and fans will tell you, this is the 2017 season and this may be the best overall team in Rebels history. CA has outscored its foes by a whopping 515-121 margin, rushed for over 4,000 yards yet again for the third straight season and on the verge of hitting the 14,000-yard rushing mark in three seasons as well. In terms of football stats, 14,000 yards rushing is absolutely off the charts and a record that may stand for all-time. Unless, of course, CA breaks it again next year.
One of the greatest high school football trivia questions also involves coach Allen. Former Edgewood legend and now Autauga head coach Bobby Carr has an 83-game winning streak as a head coach. Can you name the last coach in the AISA ranks to have defeated a Carr-led team? You guessed it, coach Allen when he was leading the Glenwood Gators back in 2010 with a 13-12 win over the Wildcats.
•The CA-Patrician game will kick off at 12 noon CT Friday.