Miami commit Artur Sitkowski threw two touchdown passes and ran for a touchdown as No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) overcame early mistakes to defeat No. 20 Carol City (Miami Gardens) 41-22 in a preseason game Friday.
Two American Family Insurance ALL-USA defensive linemen for IMG, Nolan Smith II and Xavier Thomas, each had big second-half sacks.
The game was delayed twice by lightning. When it finally got underway, Carol City took a quick 7-0 lead on a 6-yard run by Camron Davis.
The Ascenders struggled early with the center-quarterback exchange, but Sitkowski tied the score at the end of the quarter on a 3-yard sneak following several Carol City penalties. Running back Noah Cain put IMG on top early in the second quarter off an 8-yard run. He also had a 15-yard run for a touchdown in the second half.
IMG’s lead didn’t last long as Carol City linebacker Yasir Abdullah intercepted Sitkowski on IMG’s next possession and ran it back 78 yards for a touchdown. A fake punt led to a 49-yard touchdown pass by IMG’s Aidan Swanson to Andre Cisco to put the Ascenders up 21-14 midway through the second quarter.
Sitkowski found Jalen Jordan with a 14-yard pass to the left corner of the end zone just before the half to put the Ascenders up 27-14. He also threw a fourth down, 34-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter to T.J. Pledger.
Carol City quarterback Legend Moore threw a late touchdown pass to end the game’s scoring.
IMG opens the regular season next Saturday against No. 7 Chandler (Ariz.) in a nationally televised game as part of the ESPN GEICO High School Kickoff.