The No. 2 nationally ranked IMG Academy Ascenders (11-0) ventured north to Virginia to take on the powerhouse Bishop Sullivan Crusaders (7-3) of Virginia Beach. After a defensive struggle, the Ascenders rallied to score 16 unanswered points in the fourth quarter for a 16-6 win.
The first half was a defensive struggle, with Crusaders RB Khalan Laborn accounting for much of Sullivan’s offensive output. However, the only score in the half came in the first quarter when tailback Jake Low punched the ball in from four yards out.
After a scoreless second quarter, Sullivan entered the half with a 6-0 advantage.
After a scoreless third quarter, the Crusaders were driving the ball and opted to attempt to covert a fourth down deep in their own territory. The attempt was snuffed out, and the Ascenders took the ball in the red-zone. With a short field, IMG Academy QB Kellen Mond capped off the drive with a one-yard touchdown plunge, his 18th rushing score of the year, to give the Ascenders a 7-6 lead.
Later in the fourth, the Crusaders came up short on a fourth-and-three conversion attempt deep in Ascenders territory with under three minutes remaining. Two plays later, TE Tre McKitty made a spectacular one-handed grab in stride for a 91-yard score to extend the Ascenders’ lead, 14-6.
The final score of the night came when Ascenders DE Josh Kaindoh sacked Crusaders QB Tyler Desue for a safety with under a minute remaining to go up 16-6.
With the win, the Ascenders cap off a second-consecutive undefeated season at 11-0. The finale against Bishop Sullivan was part of the Under Armour Brothers in Arms Classic.
– Johnny Esfeller
IMG 0 0 0 16
BSC 6 0 0 0
BSC – Jake Low 4-yard run (kick failed), 4:36
IMG – Kellen Mond 1-yard run (Cooper Graham kick), 10:49
IMG – Kellen Mond 91-yard pass to Tre McKitty (Cooper Graham kick), 2:13
IMG – Josh Kaindoh sack for safety, 0:25