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  • Tyler Harden

Big second half lifts IMG Academy over Duncanville in Florida vs. Texas battle

Photo Credit: @matts.photography__

ARLINGTON, TEXAS—There was no other game in the country this season more anticipated than the IMG Academy vs. Duncanville matchup; many called it the “Game of the Year.” This matchup would feature two top ten teams in the country, from two of the best states in high school football, and 50 players combined with at least one FBS offer. IMG Academy is ranked as the number 1 high school football team in the country according to MaxPreps. The Ascenders wanted to back up their number 1 ranking by taking on one of Texas’ best, the Duncanville Panthers, who are ranked 6th according to MaxPreps.

IMG Academy started with the ball, and right away they executed plays. Quarterback JJ McCarthy completed a 53-yard catch and run to Malik McClain to bring them to the Duncanville 9-yard line. McClain is currently committed to Florida State. IMG couldn’t get in the end zone, however, and had to settle for a field goal to go up 3-0. But Duncanville answered, as Chris Hicks Jr. ran for a 20 yard gain to their own 40-yard line. Shortly after, quarterback, Grayson James, found Roderick Daniels for a 36-yard touchdown to give Duncanville a 7-3 lead (PAT good). IMG then did what they do best on their next possession, as JJ McCarthy found a wide open Shawn Miller for a 61-yard touchdown (PAT good). At the end of the first quarter, IMG had a 10-7 lead.

IMG Academy started the second quarter with a big break after a bad snap off a Duncanville punt. The Ascenders started at the Duncanville 40-yard line, but were unable to convert, and were forced to turn the ball over. After a Duncanville turnover, IMG started to get an offensive rhythm. JJ McCarthy completed a 9-yard pass to Ari Allen, and Lovasea Carroll found some running room for an 18-yard carry to the Duncanville 26-yard line. McCarthy then found Alabama Commit, Ja’Corey Brooks on 3rd & 11 for a 15 yard touchdown (PAT good). Duncanville then found their rhythm as Montrel Turner caught a 15-yard pass from Grayson James, and Roderick Daniels caught two passes to bring the Panthers to the IMG 16-yard line. Duncanville was forced to kick a field goal, and missed wide left. IMG went into halftime with a 17-7 lead.

The second half is when IMG Academy stepped on the gas. The IMG defense came up big to start the third quarter, as BJ Mayes recovered a fumble at the Duncanville 29-yard line. IMG was forced to kick a field goal, and the Ascenders went up 20-7. Grayson James then threw an interception, picked off by OJ Burroughs for a 22-yard return to the Duncanville 22-yard line. Burroughs is committed to Kansas. JJ McCarthy then found Ari Allen for a great diving catch at the Duncanville 2-yard line. Freshman running back, Stacy Gage, then ran in the end zone for a 2-yard score (PAT good). IMG ended the third quarter with a 27-7 lead.

JJ McCarthy started the fourth quarter with a touchdown pass to Ari Allen (PAT good). McCarthy, a 5-star quarterback, is currently committed to Michigan. But Duncanville wouldn’t go away, as Jayvyn Square ran for a 21-yard gain to the IMG 18-yard line. Grayson James then found Roderick Daniels in double coverage for a touchdown (PAT good). McCarthy’s day was finished, and backup quarterback, Jack Woche, came into the game. Woche completed a 33-yard pass to Weston Adams to the Duncanville 8-yard line. Stacy Gage then ran 5-yards into the end zone to give IMG a 41-14 lead. When the clocks hit zero, IMG picked up a 41-14 win.

IMG Academy moves to 5-0, and keeps their number 1 spot in the rankings. The Ascenders will take on Bishop Sycamore from Ohio at home next week on Friday, October 16th at 7 PM ET. Duncanville moves to 1-1, and will go on the road to take on Waco in two weeks on Friday, October 23rd at 8:30 PM ET.

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