The IMG Academy Football program took the field for its third regular season game, gunning for its third-straight win as they faced Cardinal Newman High School of West Palm Beach, Fla. Led by Head Coach Steve Walsh and Under Armour All-American Travis Rudolph, it proved to be the Ascenders toughest challenge to date. IMG Academy struggled in the first-half and entered halftime with Newman holding a 17-14 advantage. In the second half, however, this would be Alabama commitment Bo Scarbrough’s night, as he took the game over to lead the IMG Academy comeback. The Tuscaloosa, Ala. native ran around, over and through the Crusaders for 293-yards on 24 carries (12.2 avg.) and four-touchdowns, highlighted by his 73-yard scamper in the fourth quarter with less than six minutes remaining to put the game away. The Ascenders went on to win, 43-24.
“It was hard to get the momentum back that [Cardinal Newman] took from us in our own home stadium, but we made a couple of big plays, got the momentum back, and got back into the game,” Scarbrough said of the second-half effort. “We came out running the same things in the second-half that we ran in the first… but I really want to thank my offensive line, because they did such a great job blocking those stretch plays and the gut, and if weren’t for them, I wouldn’t have had the touchdowns I got tonight, because it’s not about one person, you got to have a team to win.”
Head Coach Chris Weinke was blown away by Scarbrough’s astonishing performance.
“[Scarbrough] is definitely one of the best I’ve been around, and that’s why we kept feeding him the football – he’s a special talent,” said Weinke. “Not only can he run over guys, he can run around guys and as you saw tonight, he’s able to break the big ones.”
The night got off to a rough start, mired with penalties and costly turnovers in the first-half. The Ascenders struggled to get in rhythm early, and entered halftime down by a field goal. Entering the second-half, it seemed as if the game might have been slipping away before Tallahassee, Fla. native Vosean Crumbie sparked the team with a long punt return to set up a 17-yard touchdown strike from Penn State commit, QB Michael O’Connor, to Sarasota, Fla. native, WR Casey Gunderson. Shortly thereafter, after another Scarbrough TD, Canada’s Kyle Forde, who has emerged as a force on the defensive line, pressured the Newman QB Daniel Cole, forcing a fumble that resulted in a safety to extend the Ascenders lead. The final score came with 1:05 remaining when RB Jack Wegher punched it in from the one-yard mark.
Weinke described the flow of the game, saying, “We didn’t tackle very well in the first-half, we had a lot of turnovers and some stupid penalties which cost us and put us behind. The halftime speech was simply ‘go out there, and do the little things right, keep pounding them and we’ll wear them down.
“We told them, ‘If you stick to the plan and continue to execute, things will turn out well.’ This should give this team some confidence moving forward… That second-half shows a lot of what we’re made of, those guys never gave up and we kept getting after it.”
For the Crusaders, Travis Rudolph gave IMG Academy all they could handle. On the night, Rudolph racked up 70 yards receiving on four receptions, hauling in touchdowns of 30 and 27-yards. He also added 55 yards rushing on seven carries (7.9 avg).
Additionally, it was a reunion of sorts for the head coaches. Newman’s Steve Walsh and IMG Academy’s Chris Weinke played for the same high school, Cretin-Derham Hall, in St. Paul, Minn. Walsh went on to play for the University of Miami in 1985, where he led his team to the 1987 National Championship, and eventually moved on in 1990 to a long NFL career. Weinke eventually succeeded Walsh two years later, leading Cretin-Derham to a state title in 1989, before trying his hand at professional baseball and eventually deciding to join the Florida State Seminoles, where he led the Noles to the BCS National Championship in 1999, and earned the Heisman Trophy a year later before moving on to the NFL.
Cardinal Newman 24, IMG Academy 43
Cardinal Newman 14 3 7 0 — 24
IMG Academy 7 7 6 16 — 43
Team statistics CN IMG
First downs 14 13
Rushes-yards 32-120 34-329
Passing yards 175 157
Comp-Att-Int 11-23-1 10-17-0
Punts-avg. 5-39 2-23.5
Fumbles-lost 2-2 4-4
Penalties-yards 4-30 13-100
CN: Travis Rudolph 30 pass from Cole Daniel (Steven Holmes kick) 9:16
IMG: Bo Scarbrough 26 run (Jackson Dick kick) 6:08
CN: Arrian Parham 1 run (Holmes kick) 3:01
CN: Holmes 22 field goal 4:12
IMG: Scarbrough 20 run 1:20 (Dick kick) 1:20
CN: Rudolph 27 pass from Daniel (Holmes kick) 8:31
IMG: Casey Gunderson 17 pass from Michael O'Connor (run failed) 1:15
IMG: Scarbrough 19 run (Dick kick) 11:32
IMG: Safety (Daniel fumble out of end zone) 10:53
IMG Scarbrough 72 run (Dick kick) 5:30
IMG: Jack Wehger 1 run (Dick kick) 1:05
Rushing — CN: Rudolph 7-55, Kyle Cartales 9-29, Arrian Parham 10-15, Daniel 1-6, Thomas Talenti 2-5, Andrew Owers 2-5, Collin Grill 1-5. IMG: Scarbrough 24-293, Wegher 7-37, O'Connor 1-(minus)3.
Passing — CN: Daniel 11-23-175-1. IMG: O'Connor 10-17-157.
Receiving — CN: Rudolph 4-70, Owers 5-58, Parham 1-11, Grill 1-5. IMG: Sean Daniel 5-65, Casey Gunderson 3-47. Clark Thomas 2-30, Jacob Betschel 2-15.