MAYFLOWER’S MADISON CHAMBLISS PLAYS ON WHILE TWIN BRADLEY
The day was typical of July. Hot. sticky. Perfect for football, but not the traditional helmets and pads type of football.
Mayflower head football coach Jed Davis and his team packed up and traveled 65 miles to participate in the Fountain Lake 7-on-7 tournament near Hot Springs.
Davis said the tournament couldn’t have gone any better.
“We were rolling along,” Davis said. “We hadn’t lost a game.”
What they would lose during their matchup with Lake Hamilton would be far worse.
While on defense, a Lake Hamilton reciever cut across the middle of the field in front of safety Bradley Chambliss. As Chambliss attempted to make a play on the ball, the receiver collided with Chambliss, and at the same time Chambliss’ cleat was lodged into the naturaly turf. As the reciever and Chambliss’ body went one direction, Chambliss’ foot remained stationary causing both bones in Chambliss’ leg to snap.
“I never go out on the field,” Davis said.
But the screams of pain that were resonating from the field couldn’t keep him on the sidelines. Parents, trainers and coaches all came to the aid of their fallen Eagle while they waited approximately 20 minutes for an ambulance.
“We had a dad holding Bradley’s hand to keep his mind occupied,” Davis said. “My wife was there and our trainer couldn’t have done a better job.”
Twin brother Madison chose to remain with his team rather than join the family at the hospital. Davis, however, said he was too shaken to continue playing.
“I was just sick to my stomach,” Madison said. “I wanted to keep playing for my team, but I was just too sick.”
In fact, the whole complex was shaken.
“Nobody wanted to cheer anymore,” Davis said. “It just took the air out of the whole place.”
Fountain Lake moved on, but fell in the semifinals later in the day. What promised to be a happy, team building event meant to improve the Eagles turned into a day of uncertainty, sadness, and shock.
Every year the Eagles hold what they call a Band of Brothers camp modeled after an excerpt from the movie Remember the Titans. At the conclusion of that camp, the team honored their brother Bradley and have dawned helmet stickers that read JC13 which are Chambliss’ initials and his jersey number.
“We had Bradley stand up, and let him know just how much he means to this team,” Davis said.
Bradley still participates in practice, holding a clipboard and cheering on his teammates.
Bradley has been cleared to run, but Davis said the hopes of him being a contributor this season are unrealistic.
“Even if he was cleared to play,” Davis said, “he isn’t in shape.”
Bradley is just as invloved in Friday night football as he ever was, but maybe more focused on his brother.
“We talk before every game,” Madison said. “He tells me to go out and do my best.”
Madison leads the team in every recieving category with 19 catches for 303 yards and seven touchdowns in just the season’s first three games.
Madison admits that the fact that his twin can’t play has made him work harder in practice and on Friday nights.
“I know he would rather be out here practicing in 100 degree weather than being laid up with a leg injury,” Madison said. “It makes me go harder.”
Bradley is already making bold moves.
Normally after previous touchdown plays, the two brothers would just bump sides in celebration.
After a 50-yard TD catch at Salem last week, Madison turned his eyes toward his twin on the sideline. As he got closer for their tradtional celebration, Bradley motioned with his head for his brother to jump.
“I was thinking are you crazy?” Madison said.
Madison asked that very question after the game.
“He said, ‘I can jump off my other leg’,” Madison said.
Even after a tragic summer day, two twin brothers can find a way to celebrate as boys of fall.