Two years ago, Venice (Florida) High School made things interesting for IMG Academy (Bradenton, Florida) for roughly three quarters before the Ascenders pulled away to win comfortably in the fourth quarter.
This time around the Ascenders, ranked No. 7 in USA Today’s Super 25, left no doubt, knocking off the Indians 46-7 Friday night.
Here are a few takeaways from the lopsided win.
RANKINGS: Super 25 Preseason Football Rankings
IMG’s offensive line is overwhelming
IMG wasted little time inflicting its will at the line of scrimmage, creating a surge which ultimately opened holes for the Ascenders’ running backs. In the first half IMG posted 179 rushing yards and built a commanding 26-7 lead.
If the Ascenders get consistent production like that from its front five, they’ll be tough to beat this season.
Malachi Wideman may be on his way to five-star status
No, the Indians didn’t come close against the Ascenders, but Venice wide receiver Malachi Wideman, a Florida State commit, proved why he’s one of the top receivers in the country, posting eight catches for 120 yards and a touchdown in the loss.
Wideman had to contend with double and sometimes triple teaming from IMG’s stacked defensive secondary all night but found a way to produce. That’s telling for a player who seems to be on the cusp of earning his fifth recruiting star.
The Ascenders stuff the run
Good luck running the ball this season against IMG; the Ascenders set the tone early in Friday night’s win over Venice, allowing just eight rushing yards in the first half.
IMG linebacker Melvin Jordan, a Florida State commit, was all over the field and defensive end Josh Griffis, who is also committed to Florida State, wreaked havoc all night, despite having to contend with yet another Florida State commit, offensive tackle Thomas Shrader.
Add in cornerback Elias Ricks, an LSU commit who took an interception back to the end zone for IMG’s first score of the night, and it’s clear that the Ascenders have shutout potential every week.
Kaytron Allen is the next great IMG running back
He may have just arrived in Bradenton, Fla., last month and he may be just a sophomore, but Kaytron Allen set the tone to leave his mark in a big way at IMG Academy, racking up three touchdowns in the win.
If that’s a surprising stat line, you haven’t been paying attention; last season at Norview High School (Norfolk, Virginia), Allen rushed for 1,465 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns as a freshman.
Allen could prove to be the answer to the loss of Trey Sanders and Noah Cain.
Follow Jason Jordan on Twitter: @JayJayUSATODAY