Both teams turned the ball over twice in the first half but it was IMG Academy that struck first with a field goal. The kick was set up by an interception by Grant Miller
., giving the Ascenders great field position at the St. Joseph's Prep 28-yard line.
Early in the second quarter, St. Joseph's Prep gained momentum after a D.J. Boney
fumble was recovered by Nick Yagodich
at the IMG Academy 42-yard line. A 12-yard touchdown catch by Sahmir Hagans
gave the Hawks their first lead of the night at 6-3 after missing the extra point.
Get up to speed on a big weekend of high school football with Zack Poff.
IMG Academy regained the lead late in the first half on a 92-yard punt return for a touchdown by Dekel Crowdus
to give the Ascenders a 10-6 lead.
The Hawks responded with a 99-yard kick return for a touchdown by Hagans on the ensuing kickoff. The score gave the Keystone State powerhouse a 12-10 lead heading into the half after a failed two-point conversion.
A fast and furious final five minutes of the third quarter began with the fourth and final lead change of the game. An incredible 16-yard touchdown grab by Ari Allen
gave the Ascenders a 17-12 advantage.
IMG Academy forced its third turnover of the night on the following drive, Miller's second fumble recovery of the night to go along with an interception. The recovery at the 26-yard line led to a 11-yard touchdown reception by Corey Palmer
to give the Ascenders a 24-12 lead.
A 3-yard touchdown run on fourth and one on a quarterback sneak by Ohio State pledge Kyle McCord
cut the deficit to 23-18 with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter.
The highlight-filled third quarter ended with the longest play from scrimmage on the night —
a 63-yard touchdown run by Kaytron Allen
A late touchdown by Kolbe Burrell
with 2:52 remaining in the fourth quarter gave St. Joseph's Prep hope, but the Ascenders were able to run out the clock to close out the quality early season victory.
IMG Academy (3-0) will travel back to the Northeast again next Saturday, facing No. 16 St. John's (Washington, D.C.)
in its third consecutive showdown against a ranked opponent.
St. Joseph's Prep (1-2) will have its first bye week of the season before opening up Philadelphia Catholic League play at La Salle College (Wyndmoor, Pa.)
on Sept. 28.