For the second straight season, IMG Academy, the #2 team in the High School Football America Preseason Top 25, was pushed to the limit in a Kickoff Classic. Saturday night, the Ascenders, who lost to American Heritage (Plantation) in its 2015 Kickoff Classic, beat Carol City 17-7. Kickoff Classic games do not count toward a team’s overall record, nor will they count in our rankings that are based on our proprietary algorithm.
IMG, beginning its fourth season of varsity footbll, fell behind 7-0 in the first half, but the Ascenders rallied in the second half to upend the Chiefs, 17-7.
“It was an ugly first half, but that happens the first game and also happens two teams who are very physical – their defense is as good as you’re going to see around,” remarked IMG head coach Kevin Wright on a slow start. “We went in at halftime and had to focused on being disciplined, and it was good to see how they responded.
Mired in a defensive struggle through much of the first half, the Chiefs struck first when running back Camron Davis punched it in from three-yards out with under three minutes to go in the half. Carol City would hold the lead until nearly halfway through the third quarter.
The turning point for IMG Academy came in the third quarter, and facing third-and-14, quarterback Kellen Mond threw a dart to wideout Emmanuel Greene to keep the drive alive. It would set up IMG Academy’s first score of the game, a 13-yard dash by running back Asa Martin to knot it up at 7-7.
On Carol City’s ensuing possession, safety Grant Delpit, recorded his second interception of the evening to set-up kicker Cooper Graham for a 27-yard field goal. Graham’s score gave the Ascenders its first lead of the game at 10-7.
Early in the fourth quarter, Mond connected with wide receiver Jhamon Ausbon for a 13-yard score to put the Ascenders up for good, 17-7.
In the waning minutes, the Ascenders’ defense ended the Chiefs’ hope of a comeback with a trio of sacks. Senior defensive lineman Elijah Watson’s led the way with a pair of back-to-back sacks, followed by Josh Kaindoh’s lone sack of the night with under two minutes remaining.
Next up, the Ascenders head to Loganville, Georgia to kick off the regular season against the Grayson High School Rams, ranked #8 in the High School Football America Preseason Top 25. The game is part of the GEICO ESPN High School Football Kickoff, and will be broadcast on ESPN2 on Saturday, Aug. 27. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 PM EST.
CCHS 0 7 0 0 – 7
IMG 0 0 10 7 – 17
CCHS – 0-7 – Camron Davis three-yard run (Mark Carter kick), 2:46
IMG – 7-7 – Asa Martin 13-yard run (Cooper Graham kick), 8:48
IMG – 10-7 – Cooper Graham 27-yard kick, 6:18
IMG – 17-7 – Kellen Mond 12-yard pass to Jhamon Ausbon (Cooper Graham kick), 6:32