Chambers wins seventh straight game in dominant win over Macon East

Published 12:15 am Saturday, October 14, 2023

LaFAYETTE — The Chambers Academy Rebels won their seventh straight game, dominating the Macon East Knights 36-0 Friday night at Torbert-Allen Field. The one-sided win improved the team’s record to 7-1 on the season. After a season-opening loss to defending state champion Lee-Scott, Chambers has won consecutive games over Heritage, Edgewood, Crenshaw Christian, Banks, Bessemer, Abbeville Christian and Macon East.

The game was played in a cool, misting rain, but the wet conditions had no effect on Chambers’ high-performance offense. Like they have for almost every opponent since the first game, the Rebels jumped out to a big early lead and never looked back. On their first offensive play of the game, running back Luke Tarver rounded right end and found plenty of room down the home sideline, racing 70 yards for the game’s first score. T.J. Daniel ran in the two-point conversion to give the Rebels an 8-0 lead with just 18 seconds off the first quarter clock.

It wouldn’t get any better for the Knights.

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They couldn’t move it on their first possession and punted on fourth and 16 from their 18. Koreem Henry fielded the ball at midfield for Chambers and returned the punt 50 years down the home sideline to give the Rebels a very fast two-touchdown lead. Senior quarterback Kole Baker passed to Ryan Smith to add two more points and to extend the lead to 16-0 with 9:49 showing in the first quarter.

A couple of major distance penalties against Chambers helped Macon East advance the ball past midfield on their next possession. They moved it inside the Chambers 35 before the Rebels held on downs. They took over on their own 32 and drove it 68 yards for their third score of the first quarter. Tarver had some big runs in the drive, and Henry got the touchdown, scoring on an eight-yard pass off the left side of the line.

Tarver made the end zone on the conversion play to stretch the growing Chambers lead to 24-0 with 4:38 still left in the first quarter.

This team has a knack for scoring in bunches and taking care of business early. They did it again on the next series. After intercepting a pass near midfield, it took them just two plays to make the end zone. A first down pass from Baker to Henry gained seven yards and on second and three, Tyson Hurst exploded through a big hole in the right side of the line and ran 50 yards for another Chambers score.

It was still in the first quarter and Chambers was ahead 30-0.

With the game well in hand, the Chambers coaching staff started substituting liberally, giving everyone in a uniform a chance to see some action.

They did have one more score before halftime. Midway through the second quarter, sophomore Drew Sheppard had a lineman’s dream when he picked up a Macon East fumble and raced for a score. He ran 50 yards for the Rebels to make it 36-0. There was no more scoring before halftime, and the officials continuously ran the clock in the second half. With Chambers playing it close to the vest with their younger players, there was no further scoring.

Though he played very little after the first quarter, Luke Tarver had one of his most productive games of the season. He had 144 yards on just five carries. He had a 70-yard TD run and a two-point run before sitting out the better part of three quarters.

Koreem Henry had another big game for Chambers. He ran the ball twice for 70 yards, caught three passes for 62 yards and had a punt return for a score.

“He has tremendous speed,” Coach Jason Allen said. “He gives us another dimension when he’s out there. He stretches the defense from sideline to sideline, and that helps our running game.”

Sophomore Landon Hand had a good game, running the ball eight times for 40 yards.

Allen is pleased with the play of his offensive line.

“I think they are improving from week to week,” he said.

Defensive end Gabe Bridges led the team in tackles with five. Defensive tackle Austin Brooks had four stops and linebacker Colton Fuller. a freshman, had four tackles.

One thing Coach Allen was not pleased with are penalties.

“We have got to clean that up,” he said.

The seven-game winning streak has Chambers in an ideal spot heading into next Friday’s game with Hooper Academy. The Rebels will be in Hope Hull, Alabama with a chance to lock down home-field advantage in the playoffs.

“If we win, we will be the number one seed,” Allen said.  “As long as we keep winning, we will be at home all the way to the Class 2A state championship game.”

The final regular season game will be the Rebels’ biggest challenge of the year. They will be taking on Glenwood, the top rated team in Class 3A. They defeated 3A rival Lee-Scott earlier this year and are the top-rated 3A team in the state.