Rebels take steps forward in 2015 season

Published 3:00 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Despite falling short of their goal to make post-season playoffs, the Zion Chapel Rebels had a successful season.

“It was a successful season,” said Rebels head coach Bradley Bowers. “My goal was to come out and win four or five games. We didn’t do that, but another goal that I had was making the playoffs this year. We still had that chance in week nine.”

The Rebels entered the final week of region play with an outside chance of making the playoffs.

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“We weren’t able to capitalize, but we had that chance,” Bowers said. “It showed that we did make progress this year, but we still have a ways to go and we still have to continue to get better.”

The Rebels, 2-8 overall and 2-5 in the region, entered the 2015 season with a relatively young football team. The Rebels only dressed two seniors this year – Chase Peoples and Cade Mobley – and had multiple freshman playing key positions throughout the year.

“I felt like a lot of our younger guys continued to get better each week,” Bowers said. “It was tough this year only having two seniors. Those two guys did a great job at providing leadership and being a good example.”

One of the challenges for the young Rebels was the fact that they didn’t play their second home game until Oct 2. The Rebels opened up with five of their first seven games on the road.

“Anytime you have a young football team, going on the road is kind of intimating,” Bowers said. “I think that was one of the reasons we played better when we were at home.”

The Rebels play in a region that could be regarded as one of the toughest in the state when it comes to Class 2A. The top of the region consists of the current No. 1 team in the state in Elba and New Brockton, who finished the season with an 8-1 record with their only loss coming against Elba. Luverne also is a team that consistently plays at the top of the region. That leaves five teams to battle it out for the fourth and final playoff spot.

“It’s like that every year with those teams,” Bowers said. “I have been at Zion Chapel since 2009 and we have been to the playoffs one time. It’s something that those teams are used to. They have the tradition of making the playoffs. When you are in those positions you don’t overact. For us when we get in those situations we don’t have a lot of experience.”

With some of their experienced players coming back next year, Bowers believes he has team that can start a tradition of their own.

“We have a good core group of guys,” Bowers said. “Our region is very top heavy. You have three or four teams fighting for that last spot. I do feel like we will be one of those teams that every year we will have a chance to fight for a playoff spot.”