Rebels pull away from Cornerstone Christian
LaFAYETTE — The defending AISA Class A state champions were in control of Friday night’s contest against the Cornerstone Christian Chargers the whole night, winning 59-14.
Chambers Academy junior quarterback Payton Allen completed 14 pass attempts for 219 yards and three touchdown, but he was intercepted twice.
Senior running back Braxton Allen also found the endzone three times, accumulating 74 yards on seven carries. Also chipping in was senior tight end Caydon Smooth.
On defense, Brody Smoot sacked the quarterback four times. Senior defensive end Trent Thompson got two sacks and senior defensive lineman Dijon Darden also picked up a sack.
Rebels Head Coach Jason Allen said the team made an effort to throw the football Friday night regardless of what the defense was doing.
“We probably threw the ball into some coverage a little bit and made some mistakes,” he said. “We wanted get some cohesiveness with our quarterback and receivers in the game and not in practice.”
He said he feels the Rebels program has a dynamic running game, but it needed to work on multiple facets of offense.
“It has taken a little more time to figure out our team’s identity throwing the ball,” Allen said. “We felt like we need to develop a little more balance in our game.”
Although Chambers did distance itself from the Chargers by the end of the night, it was a bumpy start for Payton Allen. His first pass attempt was intercepted by senior Chargers defensive back Bryant Talbert. However, that drive for Cornerstone ended with a missed field goal.
The Rebels’ second drive was similar as Allen was picked off once again by Talbert on a deep throw. However, an overthrown ball by Cornerstone sophomore quarterback Lane Bailey behind the line of scrimmage was picked up by the Rebels. The turnover resulted in a Braxton Allen touchdown run and two-point conversion.
After a quick three and out by the Chargers, Braxton Allen struck again with a 46-yard touchdown run, and he also converted the two-point conversion.
However, the Chargers showed some life on their next drive as Bailey hit sophomore wide receiver Kyler Simmons for a big play and followed it up with another strong throw to senior wideout John Waugh for a touchdown.
However, after that touchdown, Chambers Academy went on a scoring explosion.
The Rebels’ offense drove the ball down the field on the ensuing drive, capped off with a Payton Allen touchdown pass to senior Caydon Smoot. Junior running back Cade Tarver put the exclamation point on the drive by converting the two-point conversion.
After the kickoff, the Chargers were pinned back after a sack by senior defensive end Brody Smoot, and then multiple Rebels tackled Bailey in the Chargers endzone for a safety.
The second play of the next drive after the free kick saw a 45-yard touchdown pass from Allen to Caydon Smoot making the score 32-7.
However, the Chargers weren’t done yet, as Bailey hit Simmons again for a big play, this time for a 26-yard touchdown. After the made extra point try, Chargers made it a 32-14 game.
But the Chargers wouldn’t score again.
After another Braxton Allen touchdown followed by a Payton Allen two-point conversion, it was 40-14 heading to halftime.
Then Jason Allen decided to sit many of his starters and spread out the playing time.
“Our backups work hard in practice and they deserve to play, and it feeds your program for next year for them to get some experience,” Allen said.
One the first drive after halftime, Caydon Smoot intercepted Bailey leading to a touchdown pass from Rebels sophomore quarterback Jojo Hendrix to eighth-grade wide receiver Cole Baker.
A big punt return late in the third quarter by freshman running back Braxton Yerta put Chambers in the red zone, which set up sophomore wideout Jordan Benbrook to punch the ball into the end zone making the score 53-14.
Late in the fourth quarter, eighth grade running back Kyle Hand scored on a two-yard run, making the score 59-14.
To put an exclamation point on the night, Hand picked off Bailey on the last play of the game as time expired.
Chambers Academy goes on the road for the first time this season after four straight home games at Tolbert Field. The Rebels will travel to Greensboro to take on Southern Academy next Friday.
Coach Allen says his team will be ready to play.
“We are going to find out what we are about and take our show on the road,” he said. “We have a great senior class who has won 22 straight road games. We really expect to go out and improve every week and that’s what we have to do.”