Chambers Academy hosts Escambia Academy in 2020 finals rematch

Published 5:50 pm Wednesday, November 10, 2021

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The Chambers Academy Rebels (10-1) put their 13 game home winning streak on the line Friday as they play host to the Escambia Academy Cougars (10-1) at Torbert-Allen Field in the semi-finals of the AISA playoffs.

The Rebels are coming off a 42-14 win over Wilcox Academy in the first round of the playoffs and look to continue their AISA 2A dominance.

In 2020, these two teams squared off at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, where a gutsy fourth-down fake punt helped the Rebels secure their second state championship in school history by a score of 36-34.

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Home field advantage

This year, with 20 seniors returning for head coach Jason Allen, he hopes the experience along with the Chambers Academy crowd will play a pivotal role in returning to Montgomery.

“I got 20 seniors, who are very mature and they know if we want to play well, we got to practice well because if you don’t win this game, then your season’s over,” Allen said. “And, you know, we do have great home support, so we’re gonna need that home-field advantage for sure.”

Escambia’s only loss came against Isabella on the road.

Defensive Keys to victory

Friday’s game comes down to old fashion blocking and tackling Allen said. “The game has changed so much, but it’s always been about blocking and tackling,” he said. “If we don’t block and tackle those guys well, I think it’s gonna be really tough to beat them – they got a big strong football team, they’re gonna come right at us.”

On the season, the Rebel defense is holding their opponents to an average of 10 points per game. The Cougars are explosive and the Rebel defense needs to be on their game if they plan to keep Escambia out of the endzone.

Offensively, Allen says being consistent and being true to their identity is going the key to adding to the current home streak and more importantly, having the chance to repeat as  AISA 2A State Champions.

Offensive keys to victory

The Rebels are averaging 371 yards per game on offense while putting up 36 points per game. If the Rebels are to maintain that scoring pace, the offense, led by senior JoJo Hendrix at quarterback, will have to continue to distribute the ball to his talented skill players; Jordan Benbrook, who has amassed 1,162 yards rushing with 18 touchdowns this season, and TY Trammell, who is averaging 16.4 yards per reception and eight scores.

However, those are not the only weapons Hendrix has at his disposal; receivers Jeremy Conway and John White have combined for over 900 yards receiving and 15 touchdowns.

Final score prediction:

Chambers Academy 32, Escambia 20

Escambia has their work cut out for them, and with the help of the Rebel faithful, CA should walk away with the win.

“We’re playing our best ball right now, I think,” Allen told the Valley Times-News.  “We’re healthy. We’ve been beat up for a lot of the year, but our guys are back healthy, which is great to be healthy at this time of the year.”

As for his opponent, Allen has nothing but respect and praise for what they bring to the field.

“Escambia is a very good team,” Allen said. “We both know each other well and they’re a very physical football team.”