Take a look at the Menlo School football roster, all 29 of its names, and one thing is very noticeable: The Knights have a plethora of weapons.
The 2013 season is only four games old, but already Menlo has proven its offense can instill fear. They approach the line of scrimmage, three or four receivers spread you out and their All-County quarterback proceeds to pick you apart.
But while you may be quick to point at a couple obvious names on the Menlo roster as being the most dangerous, if you ask head coach Mark Newton who his most complete player is — perhaps since he took over the Knights program — the name that pops to his head isn’t one you’d necessarily expect: Travis Chambers.
It’s a shame Peninsula Athletic League fans don’t have the running back/safety’s name at the front of their best players because, for a season and four games now, Chambers has proven his tremendous worth to the Knights.
“He’s one of the more complete football players I have ever coached,” Newton said. “He’s an essential piece last year and even more this year. As a senior, he understands things and he makes sure he’s ‘that guy’ — the main productive guy. He played that role last year, as well.”
In Friday’s 48-7 win over Half Moon Bay, Chambers was all over the field, further proving his worth.
Of course the stat sheet will highlight the offensive side of his game as he went on to score three touchdowns (one rushing, two receiving). But if you scroll down a little further, you’ll see 60 kick return yards on specials teams plus seven tackles and a forced fumble on defense.
For his all-around effort, Chambers is the Daily Journal Athlete of the Week.
“He’s always been a three-way starter and, last season, we would funnel everything to him so he could make the tackle on defense,” Newton said. “He’d come down from his safety position against the heavy run teams and essentially end up being a fifth guy who would made a large amount of our tackles. He’s one of the more sure tacklers I’ve ever seen in high school.”
This season, Chambers is back to his top-notch defensive form. He was a 10-tackle game to his name already and is near the team leaders with 27 on the season. Last year, he led the Knights with over 100.
“He’s always in the right position and he also has an innate ability to shed blocks and make the tackle — sort of at the last second turn his shoulders and evade a blocker and make a tackle. It’s a unique skill,” Newton said.
Offensively, Friday was a game made for Chambers. While Half Moon Bay focused on taking away the pass, he and Jack Heneghan burned the Cougars for 270 yards on the ground. And as the Cougars focused on Heneghan’s main outside weapons, Chambers burned them twice with catches out of the backfield that went for scores. Chambers had 159 all-purpose yards in the win.
“I think people saw — if they watched the film from the Half Moon Bay game — that Travis is a real threat out of the backfield,” Newton said. “It just depends on what the teams show up in the fronts and coverages. He can run the ball on the inside or outside.”
Chambers showed his track and field speed on a dynamic 45-yard toss-sweep touchdown run up the Half Moon Bay sideline in the third quarter.
“We definitely have some plays that are designed for Travis,” Newton said. “But ... we’ll never try to force a square peg in a round hole. If the defense says to get the ball somewhere else, we’ll get it somewhere else. But definitely at the front of our minds as play callers is to make sure Travis gets a certain amount of touches a game because he’s such a dynamic player.”