So much for a major upset.
Unranked Alabama state power Hoover proved no match for IMG Academy, the 8-1 elite program that has run roughshod over nearly every opponent it has faced. The Bucs proved no different, as we learned Friday night:
1) Running back Kaytron Allen tops 1,000 yards, proves he belongs
A once under the radar star (at least for IMG), Kaytron Allen reached a key milestone in the second half, topping 1,000 yards for the season in style, galloping for a 75-yard touchdown run that fully blew the game open. It was one of three big touchdown runs in the game by Allen. While Tennessee and Virginia were in on Allen early, he’s now getting heavy interest from the class of the Big Ten, with Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan all after the 5-foot-11, 195-pound sophomore’s signature.
2) Efficiency, efficiency, efficiency
If Hoover ever harbored any misconceptions about keeping this game close, they evaporated after each team’s first two drives. IMG kicked off to Hoover … and promptly forced a three-and-out. They responded with a 71-yard touchdown drive. The next Hoover possession was another three-and-out … followed by a scoring drive for IMG that set up a 10-0 lead. Another touchdown later and it was 17-0 before the end of the first. Ball game, Ascenders.
3) Ascenders dominance is powerful final statement
It’s was a dominant final game for IMG, which again finishes with one loss that will relegate it to the outside of the national title conversation. That may be a disappointment, but the Ascenders’ biggest stars all made a statement in their final outing. Lejond Cavazos had a sack and pass break up. Josh Griffis added a sack of his own. Melvin Jordan delivered a major hit and celebrated with some dance (check it out below). And then there was Kaytron Allen. In a sense it’s a fitting coda for IMG, a program geared around player development first. The win will ensure a top-10 national finish, and maybe even more than that depending on how state playoffs pan out in the weeks ahead.