Chambers Dominant as SM West Wins State

Shawnee Mission West made history in Saturday's 6A State Championship Game. Behind a potent ground game and a dominating defense, the Vikings won their first title in 27 years. Standout lineman Austin Chambers played pivotal roles on both offense and defense for the newly-crowned State Champs. Go Inside to get his thoughts on the historic win…

Hutchinson has been widely regarded as the class of Kansas high school football for nearly a decade. Coach Randy Dreiling built the Salthawks into a dynasty, utilizing a punishing ground game and stifling defense as the foundation of his program.

Saturday was to be a coronation, as the latest edition of the tough, physical team from Hutchinson slaughtered another sacrificial lamb from the east.

That was until Shawnee Mission West beat the Salthawks at their own game.

With the 19-14 victory, the Vikings handed Hutch only its second postseason loss since 2004. It marked West's first State Championship since 1985, the last time any of the five high schools in the Shawnee Mission School District claimed the ultimate postseason prize.

2014 offensive lineman Austin Chambers was instrumental for Tim Callaghan's squad on both sides of the ball.

"It feels unreal," Chambers said in the aftermath of West's historic win. "It was just a blast playing in a game like that."

Callaghan used the 6-foot-5, 285-pound right tackle to clear the way for the Vikings ground game. Sunflower League leading rusher Brett Sterbach gashed Hutchinson for 273 yards, much of it behind the blocking of Chambers.

"It always feels good to beat a team that thinks they are better than you," Chambers said, laughing. "I guess we showed them!"

Chambers played the tackle position for the West defense, often lining up directly over the center. His size made him a difficult assignment for the Salthawks interior linemen, but his strength and quickness made him almost unstoppable on Saturday.

"Their offensive line is big and very physical. They were freaking out," Chambers said. "Especially their coach, he was going ballistic."

Chambers has great respect for the neighborhoods surrounding Shawnee Mission West in Overland Park, and he knows what taking a State Championship home will mean.

"It's fun to play in a community that is behind us," he said, smiling wide. "You feel like you aren't just working for you, but for everybody around you."

"Knowing what the results of this game mean and how many people in the community care, and knowing I had the chance to be a part of something bigger than a football game…It's the best feeling."

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