AISA Class A Championship: Marengo edges Chambers
By Tim Gayle
ROY – Malik Lyons scored on consecutive possessions to give Chambers Academy an early lead, but Marengo Academy coach Webb Tutt didn’t worry.
After the Longhorns rallied to take the lead, the Rebels countered with another Lyons’ run for a touchdown, but Tutt continued to believe.
Even with his team facing a fourth-and-nine late in the game, Tutt never lost confidence.
When Weldon Aydelott crashed into the end zone with 1:17 remaining to give Marengo a 34-33 victory and the AISA Class A state championship, Tutt didn’t seem surprised.
“I’m so proud of them,” he said. “They’ve got heart. This started when they were freshmen coming in and grooming, grooming. They’ve got so much heart, they never quit. They showed a lot of resiliency today. We drive down (and score), give up a big play and they just kept coming back.”
Marengo (11-1) lost a heartbreaker to Edgewood in the final moments of the AA finals a year ago and it looked like history might repeat itself when Lyons’ four-yard, fourth-down run with 3:52 left put the Rebels on top.
But a fourth-down halfback pass from Robert Tutt to Gavin Tate for 33 yards set up Aydelott’s third touchdown of the day. The senior, who was nursing a bruised shoulder, finished with 213 yards on 28 carries.
“It feels great,” Aydelott said. “You’ve just got to give all the credit to everyone else. I just run the football.”
Chambers (12-1) took an early 13-0 lead after Lyons ran 52 yards on the fourth play of the game and, after three plays and a Marengo punt, Lyons ran 51 yards to cap another four-play drive.
“They were coming at us (with an) unbalanced (line) and we weren’t adjusted to it,” Tutt said. “We didn’t adjust our linebackers to it and they got numbers and leverage on it. The guy’s good and he just got outside of us. They had three (quick) drives. That usually demoralizes you but (Marengo players) just kept fighting and kept coming back.”
Aydelott’s 49-yard run three minutes into the second half gave the Longhorns a 21-20 lead, only to see Lyons run 67 yards on the next play from scrimmage to regain the lead for the Rebels.
“I think it was an amazing season,” Lyons said. “We just fell short at the end. A couple of plays we could have corrected, maybe the outcome would have been different, but we had an amazing season and it’s been great coming here two years straight.
“I’ve been (at Chambers) three years and I wouldn’t trade it for anything. The friends I made, from parents to kids to younger kids, the impact they had on my life, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.”