Bradenton IMG’s football team came to Naples Friday with plenty of talented athletes and an 8-1 record going into the last game of the regular season. But Naples’ teamwork proved to be too much to overcome.
The Golden Eagles came up with some big special teams plays and kept the Ascender offense in control as Naples beat IMG 21-14 in Staver Field.
Carlin Fils-Aime had two rushing touchdowns and 75 yards on the ground for Naples, (8-2), which plays host to Palm Bay-Bayside to begin the state playoffs next Friday night.
“Our defense just played lights out once again,” said Naples coach Bill Kramer. “We weren’t given much of a chance here, so I’m proud of our guys. We’re a group of neighborhood kids who scrap for each other all the time.”
Quarterback Garrett Zech completed 5-of-7 passes for 55 yards and ran for 61 yards and a touchdown.
“This is a great win for us,” said Kramer. “The defense did a good job in getting us some field position all night long.”
Naples came up with the only score of the first when Fils-Aime ran 4 yards for a touchdown. The score was immediately preceded by a blocked Ascender punt.
The Golden Eagles special teams also came up big again by recovering a fumbled punt at IMG’s 11-yard line with 6:18 left in the second. But then Naples went three and out and then Jerry Nunez missed a 28-yard field goal.
Brian Donnelly set up an Eagles score right before halftime by intercepting Michael O’Connor at the IMG 44-yard line. Six plays later, Garrett Zech ran in from the 2-yard line to put Naples ahead 14-0 at the intermission.
But IMG would score next, coming when O’Connor hit Clark Thomas with a 7-yard touchdown pass. The drive was set up by a punt that went only seven yards and a pass interference penalty on Naples.
That got the Ascenders within 14-7 with 6:12 left in the third period.
Fils-Aime put it away with a 6-yard scoring run with 4:42 remaining in the game. The drive was highlighted by a 33-yard run by Michael Walker.
Naples: Carlin Fils-Aime 4 run (Jerry Nunez kick)
Naples: Garrett Zech 2 run (Nunez kick)
IMG: Clark Thomas 7 pass from Michael O’Connor (Jackson Dick kick)
Naples: Carlin Fils-Aime 6 run (Jerry Nunez kick)
IMG: Mike Daniel 24 pass from O’Connor (Dick kick)