Rebel yell

Published 12:28 am Saturday, October 29, 2011

Zion Chapel High School's LaMarcus Adair (7) runs the ball past an Ariton defender during a football game in Jack, Ala., Friday, Oct. 28, 2011. (Messenger Staff Photo/Thomas Graning)

Zion Chapel fans were finally able to breathe easy and enjoy a football game.

The Rebels had earned their five previous victories by a combined 28 points, before dominating Ariton Friday night. 30-8.

The win capped off an amazing turnaround from 2010. Zion Chapel won just one ball game last year, against Ariton. The win over the Purple Cats Friday was the Rebels eighth of 2011.

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Bradley Bower’s defense continued their recent dominance as they held Ariton offense in check for nearly the whole contest. The Rebel D allowed 267 yards of offense, 107 in the first half, and nearly pitched a shutout. Ariton scored its lone touchdown late in the fourth quarter.

“We came out tonight and took care of business,” said Bowers, “We got up early and were able to play a lot of kids and were able to relax after so many tense, emotional weeks in a row.”

The Zion Chapel offense was once again was led by “thunder and lighting.” Dustin Riggsbee, “Thunder,” bull dozed his way 172 yards on 13 carries and one touchdown. Riggsbee’s touchdown came on a 43-yard zone run mid-way through the third quarter.

LaMarcus Adair, “Lightning,” picked up 87 yards on 13 carries with two touchdowns. Adair’s touchdown romps came on runs of 11 and one yards.

The duo combined to average 10 yards a carry to power the offense to 384 yards.

Zion Chapel head coach Mike Waters praised the play of his offensive line in the win.

“The big guys up front played really well and opened up some holes for the backs” said Waters. “We had some mistakes, but were able to keep them a minimum.”

The win gave Zion its first eight-win season since 1979. That was also the final time the Rebels won a playoff game, an 8-0 over Notasulga. The last time Zion Chapel won a home playoff game was in 1979 when the Rebs defeated Billingsley 16-7.

“This year means a lot to our guys and to our school and community,” said Bowers. “I have never seen so much excitement up and down the halls and in the cafeteria, it’s just great.”

Senior offensive lineman Ryan Berry echoed Bowers’ sentiments.

“We play hard for everyone that supports us-the students, parents, and fans,” said Berry. “We will keep playing hard and playing as a team to get it done.”

Zion Chapel awaits the Barbour County Jaguars in the first round of the AHSAA playoffs next Friday night.

The Jags from Clayton will come to the friendly confines of Greene Memorial Stadium for the first home playoff game in Jack since 1991.

Barbour County finished the year third in 2A Region 3, losing a tiebreaker to Providence Christian. The Jaguars come in the playoffs with a record of 7-3.

“They have a lot of athletes and quite a bit of speed from what I hear,” said Waters. “Our goal was to make the playoffs, and we have done it. So this is icing on the cake for us, so we get to have fun, play football, and get after it.”