Chambers Academy hosts Glenwood in top-five showdown

Published 10:30 am Wednesday, October 25, 2023

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Chambers Academy is preparing for what will be its biggest matchup this season and possibly the biggest matchup in the state of Alabama this Friday. 

The Rebels host Glenwood in a battle between two top-five teams in the AISA. Coming into the matchup, Glenwood is the no. 1 team and Chambers Academy is the no. 4 team. 

This matchup is the Rebels’ toughest since the team lost to Lee-Scott Academy to start the season. Since that loss, Chambers Academy has won eight straight games, each coming by more than 25 points. 

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“I think we’ve improved a lot,” Chambers Academy coach Jason Allen said. “I know we’ve figured out our identity offensively since then. We’ll find out how much we’ve improved. I’m very excited about the challenge.” 

The Rebels have played several big games in Allen’s tenure, but this matchup is one of the team’s biggest regular season games in recent history. 

The last regular season game comparable to the one this Friday came when Chambers Academy hosted Pike in a top-five matchup. 

 “We’ve played a lot of big games here over the years,” Allen said. “This is probably one of the bigger games since then. This is why you play. It really sets the tone for the playoffs because each one gets bigger as you go. I think the game will prepare both teams for the playoffs.” 

The Rebels expect to still play their brand of football on Friday. Chambers Academy is largely known for being one of the more physical teams in the AISA. 

Luke Tarver and Jacob Norgard are dynamic running backs in the backfield, and they follow behind Ryan Smith as the lead blocker of the bruising ground attack. 

“I like to think that we’re a physical team,” Allen said. “We’re going to come off the ball and try to move you.” 

Koreen Henry has added a new element to the Rebels’ offense. Henry helps the offense with his speed and route running at wideout. Henry also adds an aspect to the ground game and on the defensive side. 

Last week, Henry finished with 174 receiving yards with two receiving touchdowns and two defensive touchdowns. 

 “It makes you play different defensively,” Allen said. “We don’t just stretch the field vertically with him, we stretch the field horizontally. It’s important to try to do both. I think that opens up the run game for Luke Tarver and Jacob Norgard. Koreen is just a good weapon in himself. He’s got a chance to score every time he touches it.” 

Glenwood is bringing a dynamic offense of its own into Chambers Academy. The Gators are 9-0 and have averaged 43 points per game this season. 

Dallas Crow leads Glenwood at quarterback. Currently, Crow has 20 passing touchdowns and 11 rushing touchdowns. 

“They want to get you in space,” Allen said. 

“If you put too many guys in the box, then they’re going to throw the ball to their playmakers. It’s kind of a chess match. Their quarterback can throw it, or he can beat you running it. It’ll be the best offense we’ve faced all year.” 

Something is going to have to give on Friday as the Rebels bring a dynamic defense into the matchup. Chambers Academy has only allowed 8 points per game this season, and the Rebels have only allowed seven points total over the last three weeks. 

Allen knows that his team is likely to give up some points against Glenwood, he just hopes the defense can slow the Gators down enough to get the win. 

“Our guys rally to the ball,” Allen said. “We think we’re a good football team defensively.” 

Glenwood is in 3A while Chambers Academy is in 2A. Therefore, this matchup is not going to affect either team’s playoff standing. 

That does not make it any less important for each team. The two teams have faced off 21 times over the course of their history, and each team is looking for a shot to prove something on Friday. 

“I think it should be your goal to be the best you can be every Friday night,” Allen said. “Our kids will be sky high for the game, and so will Glenwood’s. The game will take care of itself as far as intensity.” 

Lee-Scott, Glenwood and several other schools are moving from the AISA to the AHSAA in 2024. Chambers Academy has already lost a rivalry game with Springwood, and now the Rebels are going to lose two more games that had been like rivalry games. 

With Glenwood moving associations, this Friday is potentially the Rebels’ last chance to make an impression on the Gators. Allen and the team are choosing to not focus on that aspect and just focus on the things they can control. 

“That really doesn’t affect me,” Allen said. 

“They’ve got to do what they think is best for them. If they think it’s Alabama High School, then unfortunately we won’t be able to play each other anymore because we have no intention to join  Alabama High School because we don’t like the way that Alabama High School conducts their business with private schools.”