Editor’s note: This is the second of a six-part series diving into the Greater Valley Area football season.
The Chambers Academy Rebels had a magical 2020 football season. En route to winning the school’s second football state championship, Chambers Academy dominated the AISA, taking down two state champions with arguably the best passing attack the school has ever seen.
After winning the state championship, the team’s quarterback, then senior, Payton Allen was named the AISA Back of the Year by the Alabama Sports Writers Association and recently renamed its field to Torbert-Allen field, in honor of head coach Jason Allen.
Like they have the past few years, the Rebels will start their season on a Thursday, something that Jason prefers to do.
On Aug. 19, the Rebels will host Lee-Scott Academy for the first game of the season. Though it trails in the all-time series by three games (11-14), Chambers has dominated the previous three meetings by 111 points. In 2020, the Rebels opened their season with a 48-7 win at Lee-Scott.
The Warriors were in their first season with head coach Buster Daniels but finished with a 2-7 regular-season record, which was good enough to reach the first round of the playoffs. Their first three games were played against teams that played for a state championship, while the fourth game was against a team that reached the second round of the playoffs. Their two wins were against Springwood and Valiant Cross, which gave them a tie-breaker win to reach the playoffs.
For their second game of the season, Chambers will travel to Abbeville, which played for a state championship a year ago.
Just like the Lee-Scott matchup, the Rebels have owned the recent matchups against the Generals, winning the past six matchups by a combined 153 points. In the 2020 week-two matchup, the Rebels won 38-0.
Abbeville Christian finished 10-3 last season, losing to Chambers in week two, Crenshaw Christian in week nine and again in the state championship game.
Generals head coach Ashely Carlisle was named the head AISA coach of the year in 2020 but they will have to replace a pair of senior receivers that were named to the ASWA All-State teams.
Chambers returns home on Sept. 3 for the first of a two-game homestand, taking on Springwood for its main rivalry game and first region game of the year. Chambers hosts the Wildcats for the first time since 2018 but is riding a six-game winning streak, where the Rebels have outscored the Wildcats 289 to 88. Chambers has held Springwood scoreless the last two seasons.
Springwood is going through turnover, as the Wildcats will have a new coaching staff and will replace several key offensive players including both starting running backs, two linemen and top three pass catchers.
Chambers hosts Lowndes for the second game of the longest Rebel homestand this season. The Rebels have won the previous three games by 111 points. Lowndes finished the 2020 season 5-7. Lowndes won its final four regular-season games to earn a playoff spot.
The Rebels will travel to Valiant Cross on Sept. 17 to begin a two-game road trip.
The Warriors finished 2-8 last season, including a 46-7 loss to Chambers Academy in 2020. Valiant Cross struggled to score for the entire season, averaging just 10.9 points a game during the season, scoring more than 20 points just twice. Last season was the first time Chambers had played Valiant Cross.
Chambers will then travel to Pike Liberal Arts for a Sept. 24 matchup. Last season, the matchup was a top-5 matchup as Pike was the No. 4 AISA team while Chambers was No. 2.
The Rebels dominated the game from the start, winning 44-25.
Pike Liberal finished 10-2 last season, winning the 3A AISA State Championship. The Trojans were led by seven seniors that were selected to the ASWA All-State team and rising junior Mario Davenport, who was a second-team defensive back.
The Rebels will take their bye week on Oct. 1 before hosting Edgewood. The Rebels’ lone loss of 2020 came on the road to Edgewood when a late fumble set up the Wildcats with great field position at the end of the game.
Chambers lost that game 40-36, but it avenged the loss five weeks later, winning 51-20 at home in the second round of the playoffs.
Edgewood finished 7-4 a year ago and had four players selected to the ASWA All-State teams. It returns Colton Jones on the offensive line, who was selected to an All-Stae team in 2020.
On Oct. 15, Chambers will travel to Macon-East for its third regional matchup of the season. The Rebels blew out the Knights in 2020, winning 46-7.
Macon-East finished 8-5 last season, finishing as the No. 2 team in AISA 2A Region 1 behind Chambers. The Knights started the season 5-0 but struggled during the second half of the season winning just two games in their final six contests, one of which was a forfeit.
Chambers finishes its road schedule with a matchup against Banks Academy, which the Rebels drummed 50-6 a year ago. Banks will be in its second year of playing 11-man football in 2021. The Jets finished 1-9 in 2020, defeating Lakeside in mid-October.
Chambers will finish its season at home, against the defending 1A State Champion Crenshaw Christian.
Chambers defeated the Cougars 43-22 in the 2020 matchup, but the Cougars will return several players that played valuable minutes in the state championship win against Abbeville. Crenshaw finished 9-3 last season, averaging 38.8 points a game.