Kaytron Allen leads IMG Academy past Auburn; escapes potential upset
Photo Credit: al.com (Julie Bennett)
AUBURN, ALABAMA—Coming into the 2021-2022 high school football season, the Auburn Tigers were looking for an opponent to play for Week 10, the final week of the regular season. After reaching out to high schools in Alabama and Georgia, no teams were available to accept their matchup request. However, after one unexpected phone call, that quickly changed.
The number-2 high school football team, the IMG Academy Ascenders, did not have a game that week as well, and asked Auburn if they could come up to Alabama to play. Auburn accepted the matchup, knowing they would be playing a team out of their league, and unlike any high school they’ve ever faced. The Tigers thought of it as a good way to get prepared for the playoffs the next week. But since they had the opportunity to knock off one of the top teams in the country, and the opportunity to shock many people, they figured they might as well try to beat them.
IMG Academy had a national standing to protect, and they weren’t going to let the Tigers take that away.
Auburn couldn’t have had a bigger break to start the game. IMG quarterback, AJ Duffy, had his first pass of the game tipped and intercepted by the Auburn defense, giving the Tigers the ball at the IMG 9-yard line. Running back, Da’vaioun Williams, quickly took advantage. He completed a pass on a trick play to Powell Gordon for a 3-yard touchdown, giving Auburn an early and unexpected 7-0 lead (PAT good).
As expected, IMG was quick to answer. Running back, Kaytron Allen, helped lead the Ascenders down the field, and capped off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown to even the score at 7 to end the first quarter (PAT good).
Auburn started the second quarter with a 45-yard field goal by Josh Owsley to take a 10-7 lead. This didn’t stop Kaytron Allen. The Penn State commit continued to lead the Ascenders, and got them to the Auburn 16-yard line. AJ Duffy, who is committed to Florida State, did the rest, running in for a 16-yard touchdown, making the score 13-10 (PAT blocked).
The Tigers then found some rhythm. Quarterback, Clyde Pittman, connected with his receivers, and led the Tigers to the IMG 1-yard line. Center, Bradyn Joiner, made his name known from there, bulldozing his way into the end zone to give Auburn the lead back at 17-13 (PAT good).
IMG cornerback, Trevon Howard, answered with an interception, giving the Ascenders the ball at their own 22-yard line to end the first half.
After both teams shared punts to start the third quarter, Auburn came up with another big break. Cornerback, Trey Nelms, intercepted a pass for the Tigers, giving the offense the ball at their own 19. But neither team was able to get any momentum on offense, and the third quarter ended with the score still 17-13.
Auburn’s goal at the start of the fourth quarter was to run the ball in order to take as much time off the clock as possible, and they were doing well with that, until a fumble recovered by IMG gave the Ascenders the ball at the Auburn 26-yard line.
Kaytron Allen gave IMG the lead back shortly after with a 2-yard rushing touchdown, making the score 19-17 (PAT blocked). The IMG defense then came up big, as they controlled the Auburn offense and forced them to punt. Allen then sealed the deal once and for all for the Ascenders, running in the end zone one last time for a 4-yard touchdown (2-point conversion good by running back, Stacy Gage).
This win came with unfamiliar circumstances for IMG, as they are not used to being down, and having a competitive game going into the second half. But a win is a win, and they certainly earned a good one in Auburn.
IMG Academy improves to 8-0, and remains to be one of the best high school football teams in the country. They take on Clarkson North out of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada, next week at home on Friday, November 5th, at 7 PM ET. Auburn suffers their second loss of the season in a game they played their hearts out in. They fall to 8-2, and look to begin a long playoff run next week at home against Baker on Friday, November 5th, at 7 PM CT.