Rebels overcome much, but… Chambers ends Lowndes’ AISA Class A state football championship dreams
Published 3:56 pm Saturday, November 12, 2016
By Fred Guarino
The Lowndes Signal
The Lowndes Academy Rebels overcame much this football season to make it to the second round of the Alabama Independent School Association (AISA) Class A state football playoffs. But the road to a state championship came to an end in LaFayette Friday night at the hands of the undefeated Chambers Academy Rebels 41-16.
The AISA cancelled Lowndes Academy’s first game of the season against Macon East at home following an accident that saw four players injured, including one critically, Trevor Johnson.
But Johnson made a miraculous and inspirational recovery to cheer his team on to a 7-2 overall, 3-2 Class A Region 1 regular season record. Then the Lowndes defeated Patrician Academy 36-8 on the road before falling to Chambers Academy to end their AISA Class A state championship dreams with an 8-3 overall record.
“I want to thank all of our parents, students, cheerleaders and fans for the support this season,” said Lowndes Academy head football coach Bob Taylor. “We have been through so much, and without their support, we could not have had the season we had.”
Taylor also said, “I owe a big thank you to our seniors, Brandon Reid, Jimbo Wheeler, Zach Till, John Taylor, along with Wade Howard and John Franklin for believing in what we are trying to do for Lowndes football. They set a great example for our younger players.”
Chambers was the same team that handed Lowndes their first loss in the regular season 77-48, also on the road.
The Lowndes Academy Rebels kept this game competitive in the first half leading at one point 10-3 and trailing by just four points 14-10. But the Chambers Academy Rebels proved too much to stop on the ground and pulled away for the 25 point win in the second half.
Chambers had 431 yards of total offense. While the Chambers Academy Rebels only had 20 yards through the air, they amassed an incredible 411 yards on the ground including 244 yards by quarterback Malik Lyons.
Lowndes had 316 yards total offense including 105 yards through the air and 211 yards on the round.
For Lowndes, Jon Johnson was four of 13 passing for 96 yards; Reid rushed 22 times for 151 yards and two touchdowns; Brian Rayburn caught two passes for 89 yards; and Taylor kicked a 26-yard field goal and one point after kick.
Chambers took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter of this contest. But Reid put Lowndes on the board with a 9-yard touchdown run at the 9:31 mark of the second quarter. And Taylor added the point after to make it a 7-7 contest.
Lowndes quieted the Chambers crowd when Taylor booted a 26-yard field goal at the 2:05 mark of the second quarter to give Lowndes a 10-7 lead.
But Chambers did not stay down for long. Lyons got 32 of his 244 rushing yards on a touchdown romp with 1:17 left in the half to put the Chambers Academy Rebels up 14-10.
Chambers would take a 34-10 lead before Lowndes would score their final points of the night with 39.3 seconds left in the third quarter.
Reid scored on a 4-yard touchdown run, and a 2-point play failed to make it a 34-16 contest.
Chambers would add one more touchdown and point after for good measure to make it a 41-16 final.
Following the game, Taylor said his entire team played tremendous, but “We made too many little mistakes that added up.” He said, “Against a good football team like that you can’t have the little mistakes add up.”
Taylor said Chambers at 12-0 is a good football team. And he said, “Malik (Lyons) is probably one of the best quarterbacks in our league. He one of the best I’ve seen that I’ve coached against since I’ve been doing this.”
About his own Rebels, Taylor said, “We got after it. We played hard. We left it all on the field and that’s all we can ask for.”
He said, “We’ve overcome so much adversity through the year that for us to get here was just unbelievable, and I can’t asked anymore for what those kids believed in and bought into.”
Note: Injured in the same accident with Trevor Johnson were Lowndes Academy football players Zig Cannon, Wesley Barber and Christian Barkley. However, all four players have returned to school.