By Thomas Sellers Jr.
MEMPHIS — The Tipton-Rosemark Academy Rebels traveled to the campus of Lausanne to play 40 minutes of football.
In Friday’s jamboree involving Middle College Prep and host the Lausanne Lynx, the Rebels saved there best for last. TRA dominated their first jamboree opponent Middle College 18-0 but fell behind 12-0 to the Lynx in game two.
Head Coach Dodd Gengenbach’s Rebels didn’t quit putting together a long drive under the direction of junior quarterback AJ Hightower leading to a touchdown run by Shane O’Brien. With slightly more than a minute remaining in the contest, Ethan Carpenter intercepted a pass giving the Rebels a short field.
On the last play of the jamboree for the Rebels, Hightower spring outside the pocket and fired a pass that landed just over the fingertips of receiver Logan Stewart to fall incomplete giving Lausanne the 12-6 win.
“We’ve been talking all offseason and into the spring,” Gengenbach said, “talking into the summertime and in the preseason about coming out and competing. We want to give ourselves a chance to win. It’s about coming out to compete everyday.
“That’s my thing, compete, compete, compete regardless of what the situation was,” he continued. “I was real proud of their effort coming back in that second game. They settled down and going out competing gave themselves a chance to win this thing.”
The win was locked up pretty early against Middle College when Hightower located Ethan Kaiser for a 33-yard touchdown pass to make the score 6-0.
Kaiser scored again to make the score 12-0 with a short TD run. Then Armando Montero bulldozed his way into the end zone to make the final 18-0. The Rebels had a few mintues to rest before taking on the Lynx. Lausanne appeared fresh in its first snaps of the jamboree scoring two quick touchdowns.
Once TRA absorbed the Lausanne ambush, the Rebel offense settled down behind the play of the offensive live and Hightower.
“AJ Hightower made some good decisions out there,” Gengenbach said. “He’s going to be good. He has to learn more as we go along.
“Our offensive and defensive line, I was kind of concerned about them coming into this year,” he added. “They played great coming off the ball. I was real pleased with their effort.”
The line paved the way for offensive weapons, Carpenter, Kaiser, Stewart, Montero and Chance Benson. TRA moved the ball down the field 75 yards leading to O’Brien’s run into the end zone from a short distance.
Gengenbach said the play of Kaiser, Carpenter and Montero was key in the solid showing in both jamboree matchups.
“They’ve been doing it for a couple of years now,” he noted. “They have some experience under their belt and they’re really figuring how to compete on a Friday night.”
The first Friday night of the 2014 season is here as the Rebels travel to Tupelo Christian Prep. Gengenbach said as long as he sees the effort his team gave in the final 10 minutes, he knows the Rebels are heading in the right direction.
“We have the ability to compete with anybody at any point and time,” he said. “I just want to see them keep working toward their potential because right now they do have a lot of potential.
“Potential is one thing,” Gengenbach concluded. “Reaching it is a whole other. I was real pleased seeing them come out and take another step toward reaching what their maximum potential could be.”