No. 2 IMG Academy (Bradenton, Fla.) traveled west and beat a top 10 opponent for the second consecutive week, downing No. 9 Centennial (Corona, Calif.), 40-20, in the featured game Saturday at the Honor Bowl in San Diego.
The Ascenders’ winning streak now stands at 30 after the victories against then-No. 7 Chandler (Ariz.) and Centennial to start the season.
Saturday night’s game was a rematch of IMG’s thrilling 50-49 victory in last year’s Honor Bowl, but this game was not as close.
Centennial (0-1) was hampered by injuries to quarterback Tanner McKee, one of the nation’s best who injured an ankle in the first quarter, and backup Ala Mikaele, who was taken off the field on a stretcher after a helmet-to-helmet hit in the second quarter.
Senior Arturo Herrera, who switched to receiver after serving as McKee’s backup last season, moved to QB. Herrera helped rally Centennial, and a field goal cut the deficit to 26-20 in the fourth quarter. That’s when two long runs from Trey Sanders put the game out of reach. He went 75 yards with 6:38 to play and 65 yards a few minutes later to set the final margin.
Bookie Radley-Hiles, returning to his native California, was named game MVP for IMG thanks to his two interceptions. Quarterback Artur Sitkowski was named the Character Award recipient.
For Centennial, the Character Award went to Herrera for switching positions. The MVP went to Thomas Kinslow, who had a pair of rushing TDS and 134 yards on the ground.
IMG plays its home opener net week against St. Frances Academy (Baltimore), a rematch of a game the Ascenders won 38-0 last season. Centennial faces Etiwanda and will await further evaluation as to whether McKee will be available to return.