Rebels’ senior trio reflect on undefeated regular season careers
Published 9:47 pm Wednesday, September 4, 2019
LaFAYETTE — It was another afternoon of intense practice on Tolbert Field at Chambers Academy on Wednesday.
Rebels head football coach Jason Allen led the team up-and-down the field to perfect the drills that he and his coaching staff have put in place. The practice was perhaps the work ethic that Allen has instilled in the team, which has resulted in the program’s “golden era” as he has previously said.
The current group of Chambers Academy seniors has not lost a home game since entering high school. As a varsity program, the Rebels are currently on a 36-game regular-season winning streak, according to the Alabama High School Football Historical Society.
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“It goes through my mind. I think about the fact that I haven’t lost [in the regular season] since I’ve been here,” Chambers Academy defensive end Brody Smoot said. “It’s pretty crazy, but we just try to keep the streak going week-by-week and focus on the next opponent.”
Senior linebacker Braxton Allen said that while he also relishes in the program’s recent accomplishments, he still remembers the three state championships that the team lost from 2015-2017.
“That’s what I think about,” Braxton Allen said of the postseason losses. “That’s what we all think about. That’s what helps me, just thinking that the next one is the best one, so I go to work every single day.”
Smoot and Braxton Allen are two of the three Rebels’ seniors who have received their first football scholarship offers this year. Smoot has been offered by Iowa Wesleyan University in Mount Pleasant, Iowa. Braxton Allen has been offered by Faulkner University and Huntingdon College, both in Montgomery. Chambers Academy senior lineman Jake Waldrop has also received an offer from Faulkner.
“It was awesome getting my first offer,” Waldrop said. “I’ve been starting on varsity since 10th grade. I’ve been working ever since just trying to get somebody to look at me.”
On Friday nights, Smoot can be found all over the field on defense, throwing up an “X” signal with his arms after every tackle he makes. He was the Rebels second-leading tackler last Friday night against Tuscaloosa Academy, finishing with six tackles, one sack and one fumble recovery.
Braxton Allen has become the Rebels’ primary back this season following the departure of 2018 AISA Back of the Year candidate C.J. Lyons. The task is the newest for the senior that Coach Allen has called the “best defensive player” that he’s ever coached.
“It’s been exciting, I think I’ve been ready,” Braxton Allen said of playing out of the backfield. “I’ve been waiting for this moment. I’ve been knowing this offense since pee-wee, sixth grade. I think I can handle it.”
Standing at 6-foot-4 and 320 pounds, Waldrop is often the biggest lineman on the field competing on the private school level.
“I honestly don’t think about it that much,” Waldrop said of his size advantage. “I have to go out and play as hard as I can every play. It doesn’t matter if they’re a small guy because a small guy can be a quick guy. A big guy can be a slow guy, it just depends, if I’m going full-speed every time, it doesn’t matter who it is, I can block them.”
While the current senior corps understands and appreciates all of the group’s accomplishments, the players want to finish their high school careers before fully reflecting on the moment.
“When I’m long and graduated, and I come back to watch these football games, [I’ll be] coming out with my state championship ring on, my letterman jacket and walking around with my chest poked out,” Braxton Allen said, before laughing. “You just have to stay focused right now. It’s all about finishing right now.”
The Rebels host Abbeville Christian this Friday night.