Chandler High’s open week in the 2017 football season comes during Week 1, and it has been filled with a mega-giant in the high school football world.
IMG Academy, the Findlay Prep of high school football out of Florida, will travel to Chandler to face the Wolves on Aug. 26.
The time for the game has not been determined.
IMG Academy, based out of Bradenton, Fla., went 11-0 last season, playing a national schedule. It isn’t eligible for the Florida interscholastic playoffs because it makes no pretenses that it is a football factory drawing some of the best players in the country.
“They have over 20 players with major-college scholarship offers,” Chandler coach Shaun Aguano said.
Its closest game last year came against Corona (Calif.) Centennial, a team that Chandler nearly knocked off early last season in California. IMG won a shootout 50-49 in Mission Viejo, Calif.
IMG Academy opened the season with a win over Grayson, which then won 14 consecutive games and took the 7A Georgia championship.
Grayson elected not to represent Georgia in December’s GEICO State Champions Bowl Series in Texas, where Chandler beat the 6A Georgia champion, Valdosta, 44-24.
Chandler, the 6A Conference Arizona state champion, finished its season with a flourish, averaging more than 50 points in its last 11 games. But it loses key pieces, especially on offense with All-Arizona running back T.J. Green, slot receiver/running back Ryan Johnson and linemen Harold Colbert and Caleb Medina. It also loses wide receiver Johnny Johnson. But the Wolves return second-team All-6A quarterback Jacob Conover and wide receiver Gunner Romney.
“The last four years, we’ve taken on the best,” Aguano said. “We feel we’re one of the best teams in the country.
“But, of course, they’re a different animal. I want to front-load our schedule with powers and see how these kids respond.”
IMG Academy finished the 2016 football season ranked No. 2 in the country by USA TODAY.