Despite their record, the Coosa Valley Rebels (6-5) are one of the better teams in the AISA. Coach Jason Allen knew that and he knew his Chambers Academy team would have to play mistake free to get a win in their home finale on Friday night. The Rebels didn’t do that, committing six turnovers in what turned out to be a 49-22 Coosa Valley win.
The game was not as lopsided as the score indicated, and was tied at 14 with less than three minutes to play in the first half, but a costly turnover turned into a two touchdown deficit for Chambers.
“We had way too many turnovers,” Allen said. “It’s uncharacteristic and we’ll have to cut it out this week to have a chance.”
Despite just three trips to the endzone, Chambers amassed over 400 yards of offense in the loss including 393 on the ground. Corey Bolt ran for a season-high 249 yards and eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark for the season. Tay Henry was again impressive, gaining over 100 yards on the ground.
Chambers took an early lead after stopping Coosa Valley on their opening possession and marching down the field in 13 plays for the touchdown. Henry capped the drive with a 28-yard scoring run with 4:15 left in the opening quarter.
But Coosa Valley responded with two scores on their next two possessions to take a 14-7 lead midway through the second quarter.
Chambers tied the game at 14 after Bolt capped an 11-play drive with a 10-yard touchdown run. After Coosa Valley was stopped on their next drive, CA got the ball back with plenty of time to take the lead. But at midfield they were stopped on a fourth down, and CVA took control. They didn’t take long to find the endzone and soon had a 20-14 lead after Chambers’ DeMetrius Lemon blocked an extra point.
With the half approaching Chambers made one final push when the turnover bug struck. Coosa Valley intercepted a pass and returned it to midfield. A long TD pass increased the lead 28-14 as halftime fell.
The Rebels could never regain their momentum after the break. Coosa Valley quickly capitalized on more turnovers, and with less than five minutes to play in the third quarter had built a 42-14 lead. In total Chambers committed two interceptions and four fumbles, including one that was returned 68-yards for a score. The Rebels threatened to score several times in the second half but nearly all came up short because they gave the ball away.
Chambers final points came with 10:59 to play in the game. Bolt powered the 14-play drive and ended it on a one-yard touchdown plunge.
The Rebels (5-5-1, 3-3) will have to shake off the loss fast because now they must prepare for the first round of the AISA 1A playoffs. They won’t have much time to do it either, as it was announced last week that the game will be played on Thursday, Nov. 7, rather than Friday as originally scheduled.
The Rebels first round opponent No. 3 Marengo Academy, shares their field with another local school facilitating the rescheduling.
No matter what day the game is held, Chambers will be facing one of their most difficult opponents all year in the 10-0 Longhorns. Marengo has allowed just 60 points all season and has three shutouts. Their offense is equally dominant, averaging 44 points per game thanks to their dynamic quarterback.
The Rebels will go into the game as the 1A Region 1 No. 4 seed while the Longhorns are the Region 2 No. 1 seed.
“They (Marengo) are a really good team,” Allen says. “But our guys are playing well right now. I like where our team is. We have to go over there and cut out the turnovers and execute and see what happens.”
It won’t be a short trip either, on an already short week. Marengo Academy is located in Linden, nearly 200 miles across the state. The game will be held at Linden Athletic Complex.
*For full story see this week’s edition of The Sun.