Chambers Academy’s Allen named 2018 All-Valley Football COY
Published 9:20 pm Wednesday, December 19, 2018
LaFAYETTE — After coming up short the last three seasons, Chambers Academy broke through this year to win the school’s first football championship. Through it all — three consecutive state championship losses in a row — head coach Jason Allen kept the Rebels together, and this year it paid off.
In November, Chambers Academy defeated Crenshaw Academy 22-12 to win the AISA Class A state championship game. Allen, who has now coached in seven state championship games, has been named The 2018 All-Valley Football Coach of the Year.
“You couldn’t write it better in a story,” Allen said. “Chambers is home. This is where I went to school, and I have coached at several different other places, but I’ve always felt a special bond here. I’ve always felt a special part of the community because I’ve lived here my whole life. It took us a long time to get to this point. We’ve had a lot of tries, and we’ve failed. For this team to be able to do it, it’s been a storybook ending. To have my son on the team, a lot of these kids who I’ve seen their whole life, I’ve watched them be born, I watched them grow up, and for them to win the first championship it’s really surreal, in my opinion.”
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Chambers Academy finished a 13-0 season and was willed by its leaders CJ Lyons, Alston Knox, Brody Smoot and Payton Allen.
“What we talk about is doing things the right way,” Coach Allen said. “There are no shortcuts to success, you have to work hard. You have to roll up your sleeves every day, a lot of like how real life is, and that’s what we’re trying to prepare these young people for. Adversity’s going to come your way, how are you going handle adversity? Are you going to fight through it, or are you going to give up? These young men have shown the resilience and character that it takes to be a champion. I think that’s going to help them a long way in life.”
Allen has traditionally been a Wing-T formation, run-heavy offensive coach. This season, the Rebels looked a little different on offense.
“The offense hasn’t changed, the offense adapted to our personnel,” Coach Allen said. “We felt like we had a quarterback who could throw the ball, and we felt like that we had some guys who could go catch it.”
Sophomore Payton Allen became the first-year starter at quarterback this season, which gave the Rebels another option for the offensive unit. Payton Allen threw for 1,400 yards with 17 touchdowns and five interceptions in 2018.
“It was nice. In today’s football, the field is spread a lot more, we realized that, and we tried to utilize that in our formations,” Coach Allen said. “I thought it was very helpful to be able to run our quarterback [in the state championship] to take some load off of our running backs.”
The fourth time was the charm for the current group of Rebel seniors, but seven was the magic number for Coach Allen. Allen said that he thanks the community for supporting the team all season long to make practice days and game nights a success.
“It’s nice to be rewarded for your accomplishments,” he said. “Of course as coaches, that’s why we don’t get into it, we do it to make a positive impact on young people’s lives. I am thrilled that you all have given us this award, it’s a testament to this team, our players and our entire coaching staff. I’ll take it on their behalf.”