On Friday night, the first-year head coach of IMG ACADEMY (Bradenton, Fla.)Bobby Acosta and his Ascenders had their dream start, heading the first seven minutes of the game with a 21-0 lead. Tottering the rest half of the game before flipping it into a 49-13 victory at Venice. When the Ascenders flaunted their more than 30 athletes with FBS college offers in a game that was played under a running clock from the middle of the third quarter McCarthy threw for 333 yards and five touchdowns in front of roughly 5,000 fans and an ESPNU n national television audience.
Coach John of Venice High Football team said, “We couldn’t have been any sloppier in the things that we did,”
J.J. McCarthy Impressive From The Beginning
McCarthy was impressive from the start, throwing two touchdown scores to Florida State-bound Malik McClain and one each to Alabama-bound wideout JaCorey Brooks, Pittsburgh-bound tight end Jake Renda and senior receiver Ari Allen. Seven plays were just it took IMG Academy just to go 71 yards on the game’s first possession and take a 7-0 lead on an 11-yard pass from McCarthy to Brooks with 9:02 left in the first quarter. Three plays after a TD was wiped out by a penalty, Brooks — a fleet 6-foot-3, 185-pound senior — took a quick receiver screen and zipped up the IMG sideline putting the Ascenders on the scoreboard. It was thrilling to watch McCarthy firing his fourth TD pass of the game. Avoiding any burden and strolling to his right, the future Wolverine connected on a perfect 19-yard strike in the back of the end zone to McClain, who took a big strike but held on, making it 42-6 with 5:09 left in the third. IMG receiver JaCorey Brooks had an 11-yard touchdown catch for the first score of the game which was wiped out by a penalty.
Team of Acosta touched down by flags
Acosta, who also saw his team have three touchdowns wiped out by flags wouldn’t have been delighted had two of IMG’s 10 first-half penalties extended the drive. To take control, the Ascenders regrouped at halftime and got two big plays in the first five minutes of the third quarter. Terrell Foster, a junior defensive back, who returned it 45 yards for a touchdown, took off Blazek, a couple of plays later, making it 35-6 with 7:53 left in the third, taken up.
The dubious season for Acosta
It was a dubious offseason for Acosta, whose team had to cancel five games against Top 100 teams due to the coronavirus pandemic. But the Ascenders were able to fill most of their schedule, including the opener at Venice. They overcame many untimely penalties in the first half to regroup and win going away.