Chambers Academy vs Lee-Scott Academy preview
Published 11:23 am Wednesday, August 16, 2023
It’s finally football season again. To start the season on Thursday, Chambers Academy will travel to face Lee-Scott Academy.
Chambers and Lee-Scott have played each other 27 times in their history, and Lee-Scott holds a three game lead in the series.
Last season, Lee-Scott traveled to Chambers Academy and beat the Rebels 33-0 in their opener. The Rebels weren’t the only team that lost big to Lee-Scott, as the Warriors went undefeated for the rest of the season and won the state championship.
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Despite last year’s lopsided result, both teams will be very different this year. Chambers Academy returns several starters on defense, and Lee-Scott lost a large group of seniors.
“They had a really good football team last year,” Chambers Academy Head Coach Jason Allen said. “We were coming off losing 18 seniors, and this year they’re coming off losing 18 seniors. Both teams I think have a lot of unanswered questions right now. We’re going to find out a lot about ourselves Thursday.:
The teams will both be very different, but it will still be a tough matchup for both sides.
“Lee-Scott’s well coached, they’ll have some good athletes. they’re a much larger school than we are,” Allen said. “I know we’re not going to back down, and we’ll play hard. We’re not going to be intimidated.”
Playing the defending state champions to start the season gives Chambers Academy a good chance to make a statement. Chambers Academy has been one of the premier programs in the AISA for more than a decade. On Thursday, they’ll get the chance to prove that they still are one of the premier programs.
“A win would be big,” Allen said. “It would kind of give us a lot of confidence beginning out the year.”
Many would view the first game of the season as possibly one of the most important parts of the year. Allen knows that there is a whole season to play after Thursday.
“I’ve found that whether you win that game or lose that game… it doesn’t have a whole lot of bearing on the rest of the year,” Allen said. “You’ve got to play them one at a time.”
Both offenses have been very run heavy traditionally. Expect to see more of the same on Thursday.
“Coach [Buster] Daniel is an old O-line coach,” Allen said. “He’s going to want to run the football. If we don’t stop their run game, then we won’t have a chance to win the game. We’ve got to be solid in the run game with our fits, and we’ve got to tackle well.”
Allen expects Lee-Scott to be solid on both sides of the ball. He hopes for his team to still control the ball with the ground game.
“They’ll be sound defensively,” Allen said. “We want to be able to run the football. We want to be able to throw the ball when we want to throw it, not when we have to.”
Early on in the season is when you typically see the most errors on the field. Allen knows that limiting these errors and playing well on special teams could determine the final outcome of the game.
Luke Tarver, Jacob Norgard and Koreem Henry will be major contributors to Chambers Academy’s ground game. There has been a competition for the starting quarterback role this summer. Kole Baker is expected to take the first snaps. Depending on the game flow, Norgard and Landon Hand could also see time at quarterback.
The offensive line will be the key for what Chambers Academy wants to do on Thursday. Although the Rebels lost some starters from last year’s team, several players will be returning. Blake Reaves is a senior, and he transferred from Valley to play for the Rebels this season.
“I think we’re gonna go as our O-line goes,” Allen said. “We lost some good offensive linemen last year, but we’ve got some good guys coming back.”
Chambers Academy has the most experience on the defensive side of the ball. Around nine players on the defensive side played key roles last season.
“We may have to hang our hat on our defense, especially early on as we try to figure out some things offensively,” Allen said.
Allen has been preaching physicality and toughness to his team in preparation for the season opener.
“We’ve gotta be physical and tough,” Allen said. “That’s our mentality. Rebel tough is what we call it. We want to be the most physical football team when we step on the field every Friday night, or Thursday night in this case.”