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IMG Academy wraps season with victory over No. 2 St. Frances Academy


If there was one high school game important for college football fans to pay attention to over the weekend — and perhaps over the entire season — it was the clash between No. 2 St. Frances Academy (Md.) and No. 11 IMG Academy (Fla.).

In the showing of star power, IMG Academy took home the 27-16 win and closed its season with an 8-1 record.

Though IMG was ranked lower, calling this an upset wouldn’t exactly be right. Both schools are historically dominant and carried that into this year. Entering the game, SFA was 8-0 with wins against very good schools around the country, including East St. Louis (Ill.), DeSoto (Texas), Venice (Florida), Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.), and Kahuku (Hawaii). Meanwhile, IMG was 7-1 with four straight shutouts—a combined score of 254-0.

The teams and their fans desperately wanted a win, but college football fans could simply enjoy it as peak high school performance and also a glimpse at players who might don the jerseys of their favorite team in the future.

Ohio State commit Carnell Tate, a 6-foot-2 receiver for IMG, finished the game with two touchdowns:

Sophomore Winston Watkins Jr. decommitted from Texas A&M the morning of the game and gave college programs an argument for why they should be the next school to offer him. The 5-foot-10 receiver, ranked No. 13 on the 247Sports composite, scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter.

It was his tenth touchdown of the season, according to ScorebookLive.

One of the game’s most important plays came in the second quarter. Jordan Johnson-Rubell broke the game open with an interception near the five-yard line that he returned for a touchdown, giving the Ascenders cushion for the second half.

Johnson-Rubell, ranked as a four-star safety and the No. 86 player on the composite, has 26 offers, per 247Sports.

The Athletic posted an intriguing recruitment article in March, headlined by Johnson-Rubell but more broadly about IMG’s college recruitment in general. While he plays in Florida, he could be considered a Texas high school prospect as well.

That’s meaningless to IMG fans, but for college fans paying attention to these games, it adds a different level of possibility for these players.

There were plenty of top-tiered recruits to pay attention to during this game. In the end, IMG’s stars got the upper hand on those from St. Frances Academy.

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