The IMG Academy Ascenders (1-0), ranked #2 in the latest High School Football America Top 25, kicked-off the regular season by knocking-off #8 Grayson (Georgia) 26-7. After a tightly contested first-half, the Ascenders ran away with it in the second half as QB Kellen Mond scored three total touchdowns.
“It’s a huge advantage when you’re running behind a line like ours and a tight end who can block, and they were giving us a six-man box so it really opened things up for me,” said Mond after the win. “I just let the game come to me, and with the plan the coaches had and knowing what our offensive line and running game can do, it all really came together.”
Mond added, “Now it’s on to the next game and we have to rest up, get healthy and get in the film room and get ready for Corona Centennial next week.”
The first quarter was a defensive struggle, and remained scoreless until early in the second quarter when Grayson QB Chase Brice found Jamyest Williams wide open down the middle for a 56-yard touchdown bomb.
Struggling to move the ball, the Ascenders found a groove with the running ability of QB Kellen Mond. On the ensuing drive, Mond chewed up yardage on the ground and converted a pair of first downs to TE Tre McKitty and WR Emmanuel Greene. Mond capped the drive off with a 15-yard dash to paydirt to tie things up at 7-7. Mond punched in another score in the third quarter to make it 16-7, and his last scoring play came in the final minutes through the air when he connected with WR Jhamon Ausbon on a six-yard strike.
“It’s never easy to go on the road and play in these kinds of games, and Grayson was as fast and physical as expected,” remarked Head Coach Kevin Wright. “We made some mistakes, and took advantage of some of theirs, but it all came down to the offensive and defensive lines controlling the line of scrimmage, and that’s where the game was won.”
Mond’s 32 carries on the evening set the Ascenders single-game record for carries. He finished with 146-yards rushing.
Kicker Cooper Graham was two-for-two on field goal attempts and was true from 37 and 34-yards.
IMG 0 10 6 10
GHS 0 7 0 0
GHS – 0-7 – Chase Brice 56-yard pass to Jamyest Williams (Will Vanpamelan kick), 10:28
IMG – 7-7 – Kellen Mond 15-yard run (Cooper Graham kick), 5:16
IMG – 10-7 – Cooper Graham 37-yard kick
IMG – 16-7 – Kellen Mond three-yard run (kick failed) 1:48
IMG – 19-7 – Cooper Graham 34-yard field goal, 9:47
IMG – 26-7 – Kellen Mond six-yard pass to Jhamon Ausbon (Cooper Graham kick), 4:43