IMG Academy Football soars to #17 in the nation; #1 in Florida after 50-21 victory over Clearwater Central Catholic

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QB Deondre Francois #5 racked up nearly 300 yards of total offense and 4 touchdowns on his way to leading
the Ascenders to a 50-21 win over Clearwater Central Catholic, and new highs in the Max Preps rankings at
#17 nationally and #1 in Florida

The IMG Academy Football Program (9-1) soared to new heights in the Max Preps national and state rankings in the wake of a 50-21 drubbing of the previously undefeated Clearwater Central Catholic (9-1). The Ascenders are now ranked #17 in the nation, and #1 in the state of Florida. Entering the Halloween night contest, the team checked in at #29 and #2, respectively, in the rankings. The win also marked the Ascenders second conseuctive victory over a Florida powerhouse. In their previous game before the bye, IMG Academy upended Jacksonville Trinity Christian in a nationally televised game on ESPNU, 28-7.

The Ascenders entered the Halloween night contest looking to make their case in the rankings, and they achieved just that. The game appeared to be bound for a shootout as each team scored on their opening possessions. IMG Academy led 14-13 in the first quarter after a failed CCC extra point attempt. However, QB Deondre Francois (Orlando, Fla.), a Florida State commit, broke the Marauders with a pair of hard fought second quarter rushing touchdowns. Francois also added a pair of passing touchdowns in the fourth quarter when he connected with WR KJ Osborn (Ypsilanti, Mich.) and WR Tavares Chase (Plant City, Fla.). Francois finished with nearly 300 yards of offense, racking up 92 yards on the ground, and another 192 passing.

The IMG Academy rushing attack was in full force once again. In addition to Francois’ rushing scores, RB Jack Wegher (Dakota Dunes, S.D.) and Tony Jones (St. Petersburg, Fla.) each found pay dirt in the first half. Wegher and Jones’ scores brought their rushing touchdown totals for the year to 11 and 7, respectively.

Notably, junior CB Saivion Smith (St. Petersburg, Fla.), who recently vaulted up the latest Scout.com rankings to earn his fifth star and ranked the #1 corner in the nation, put on a show. The lockdown corner added to his growing reputation as a special teams ace after a scoop and score touchdown off his own punt block in the third quarter, his fifth non-offensive touchdown of the year.

The Ascenders return to action for the season finale when the defending Florida 2A state champion Hialeah Gardens Champagnat Catholic Lions visit IMG Academy Stadium. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 pm EST.

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