DOVER — Quarterback Tyler Riddell passed for 307 yards and four touchdowns to lead Chamberlain past Strawberry Crest 43-0 and back to the playoffs for the first time since 2008 on Friday.
Chamberlain will have to wait until Sunday's official announcement by the FHSAA to learn whether it will be the seventh or eighth seed in Class 6, Region 2. The Chiefs were ranked seventh in this week's rankings, but Lake Gibson, which was eighth, is a district champion and automatically assured a top-four seed. Chamberlain trailed Gainesville by just .22 one-hundredths of a point. In their final games, Chamberlain beat the Class 7A Chargers. Gainesville beat Class 5A Eastside, which came in with a winning record.
If Chamberlain (8-2) does not move ahead of Gainesville, the Chiefs will play top-seeded Armwood in the first round.
"This is bigger than just our football team," Chamberlain coach Jason Lane said after being soaked by his players. "We are carrying the entire school on our backs in how we live our lives, with our behavior, our academic performances. We are trying to bring some positive recognition to the school because it is deserved."
The Chiefs' hopes in the playoffs, as they have all season, will rest on Riddell's arm. The junior entered Friday's regular-season finale averaging about 192 yards passing per game. He eclipsed that in the first half against the Chargers (2-8), completing his first four passes and last seven in the half. He threw for 244 yards and three scores before halftime as Chamberlain built a 29-0 lead against Strawberry Crest (2-8).
"I thought coming into the season we could make the playoffs, and now we've done that," Riddell said. "I think I made a big (contribution), but we also had a good running game. We didn't have one or two guys who put up a 1,000 yards, but we had a number of guys who picked up yards. And our defense always seemed to give us the ball back in good field position."
Riddell's last pass, one into the flat that Quadre Hearns turned into a 40-yard touchdown, gave Riddell 2,038 yards on the season. His other touchdowns Friday went to Kevonta Montgomery (25 yards), Kaleb Long (18 yards), and Emmanuel Forkuoh (67 yards).
"Everytime I'm asked I say he is the best quarterback in the county," Lane said.
Play of the game: On the Chiefs' second possession and facing a second and 10 from the Strawberry Crest 25, Riddell rolled right into the end rusher. He avoided the sack, scrambled toward the right sideline and, while on the move, hit Montgomery, who had slipped behind the defense in the end zone. The score began Chamberlain's scoring onslaught.
Drive of the game: Holding a 9-0 lead early in the second, Chamberlain produced its longest drive: an 11-play, 78-yard possession capped by the 18-yard scoring pass to Long, his seventh of the season. The score was the first of three in the quarter for the Chiefs.
Key stats: Riddell threw for 244 yards in the first half, including 187 yards in the second quarter. He completed passes to six receivers. Hearns caught four passes for 75 yards and ran for 37 yards on five carries. Long caught five for 59. Strawberry Crest was held to 26 yards of offense in the first half and 54 overall. RB Jaquell Narine rushed for 57 yards.
Final Word: "He has tremendous arm strength. No one sees how hard he trains. He trains as hard as our linemen and linebackers. One of my favorite attributes is his accuracy. His ball placement is second to none, and he is a tremendous leader — all these kids love him." — Lane