Rebels open against Chargers
Earlier in the season Lowndes Academy coach Art Sullivan said he wanted to win the regional title. Friday night, his want turned into reality as the Rebels laid claim to the Class A region East title. The win secured the Rebs home-field during the first round of the Alabama Independent School Association playoffs. The way the playoffs are set up is that the first four teams in the region are in. The split comes when the top two teams stay home and the other two teams travel. Lowndes will stay home and will face the No. 4 team from the west region – Cornerstone Christian from Columbiana.
"I've seen them twice this year, they've got basically a passing team," said Art Sullivan, coach of the LA Rebels. "They use a lot of formations and spread the field and have some good receivers. They've got a big quarterback, if you give him time he can throw the ball from one end of the field to the other."
The Chargers come into Friday's game off a victory over Marion Military.
Coach Tim Smith and his squad are excited to be taking the field Friday night and face Lowndes.
"They've got a very good football team," said Smith. "We've been watching film on them coach Sullivan down there, they are well coached, what we are worried about is their speed. You've got to find a way to cover Bradley Adams and no one's done that yet. Size wise we are going to match up, speed wise they are quick. We are worried about them getting on the corner on the run and getting deep on the pass and Adams is probably the best receiver we've seen all year. They've got a senior line and that means a lot they block real well for their quarterback when he drops back to pass."
This year however, the Chargers bring with them a passing threat of their own. He just happens to be 6'3, 230 lbs.
"We've got our hands full Friday night and we know it," said Smith. " But our quarterback has improved by leaps and bounds. He's a sophomore quarterback, 6'3 230 and he's bigger than most of our lineman. We've got one that ways 255 and one that ways 210 most of the others are under 200 lbs. "
"He's not real fast, but he likes to get out there and tries to run every now and then. He's not blessed with a lot of speed so if he breaks for a five-yard gain we are excited, but he can throw the football. "
"It's his first year to ever play varsity. He sat out for two years until we talked him into playing this year. It's been the difference in our season."
"He's made us a threat that we've never had. We can throw the pass now. In the past, we'd throw it just to try to trick you. Now we throw it probably 12-15 times."
Sullivan is still confident in his teams Friday night.
"They've got a good enough team to keep us up later than we want to be at night worrying about it," said Sullivan. "They do so many thing that it's going to take us twice as long on to practice covering their formations. We won't be seeing the six o'clock news any this week."
But, even with a giant lining up under center, Smith is still concerned about the speed of the Rebs.
"We are going to try to get a little pressure on the quarterback and make him move," Smith said.
"He hasn't been sacked a lot because the offensive line does a real good job blocking. For Adams we are going to keep doing what we've been doing. Our defense has 15 interceptions."
"Our kids are excited to be in the playoffs. I'll be honest. Southern beat us up pretty good. That was four weeks ago and we've used that to get better. They physically beat us up. "
"We lost one kid for the rest of the season with a neck sprain and a spinal sprain. Other than that, we are pretty healthy, got some broke fingers and some bruises and bangs and cuts and scrapes, but we are in good shape."
The Chargers come into Friday's game with a 7-3 record, an improvement over last season.
The squad's three losses came from Southern Academy, Shelby Academy and Central Christian Academy.
Lowndes is coming into the game with two losses, one to Lakeside and a triple overtime loss to Hooper Academy
The way the bracket is set, the winner of this game will advance to round two and face the winner of the Crenshaw Christian vs. Shelby Academy game. For both schools the chance to advance could mean facing a rival.
Kickoff for Friday's game is set for 7:30 and will be played at Rebel field in Hayneville.