The 2022 high school football season kicks into full gear this weekend with most states playing under the lights on Friday night. The day is finally here. Central vs IMG Academy will face-off this friday night in one of the most anticipated high school football games in recent Western Massachusetts high school football history. The Golden Eagles are the top-ranked team in Western Mass. and have won back-to-back Division III state championships. The program is led by Super 7 selections, quarterback William Watson III and wide receiver Joe Griffin Jr.
Full Coverage: Central vs IMG Academy face-off in clash between high school football powerhouses, The game kicks off in Springfield. If you did not get a ticket to the game before they sold out, you can watch a live stream via HsFootballHUB. Will have live updates throughout the game. To follow along with our reporters, head to the bottom of the post.
In the biggest upset of the weekend so far, Central shocked No. 3 IMG Academy 20-14, becoming the first South Florida team to beat the Ascenders since.
The football universe knows the depth of talent at IMG Academy, but Central shocked the world Friday night beating the Ascenders at their house 20-14. The win showed the depth of talent in south Florida and that there is something to continuity in team play year after year.
The only MaxPreps Top 25 matchup of the week features No. 25 Dutch Fork (Irmo, S.C.) hosting No. 3 St. Frances Academy (Baltimore) on Friday. The Silver Foxes were the lone team to join the MaxPreps Top 25 last week and have their biggest test of the season.
The all week of the high school football season has a full slate of big national matchups, with one of the biggest being No. 3 IMG Academy vs Central. IMG Academy might be ranked nationally, but both schools are ranked in the top 5 of SBLive Sports’ Florida Preseason Football Power 25 and Central is chasing its fourth consecutive state championship.
IMG Academy enters the 2022 season with its third head coach in three years, but first-year head coach Billy Miller has three of the top 35 recruits in the country in the Class of 2023 on his roster, per 247Sports, and five in the top 20 in the Class of 2024 this season.
The 2020 high school football national champions kicked their season off with a 41-3 beatdown against area rival Venice and will look to make a statement this week against one of Florida’s other top-ranked teams.
Miami Central is the three-time reigning state champion, but they too have a first-year head coach in Jube Joseph, who takes over at the helm after previously serving as team’s defensive coordinator.
The Rockets come into this one riding a 13-game win streak from last year after beating Palm Beach Lakes 42-0 last week, and haven’t lost a game since September 4, 2021 when they ran into nationally-ranked powerhouse Bishop Gorman.
The 8-time state champion Rockets aren’t backing down from any offense and especially when it comes to IMG Academy’s multi-faceted attack led by quarterback Jayden Bradford, wide receiver Carnell Tate and running back Jerrick Brown. Rueben Bain, a 6-foot-2, 250-pound defensive lineman, will need to create some havoc up front versus the IMG Academy offensive front, led by offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa.
“I told them that was my coming-out party,” Bain said. “Even though I had a coming-out party all last year, this is my true coming-out party. This is to show people that no matter who the opponent is, I’m going to shine. I’m always going to shine. I’m never going to stop.”
Bain’s words may as well be the mantra for Central.
The Rockets stunned Central vs IMG Academy, ranked No. 4 in the nation by MaxPreps, 20-14 on Friday night.
Central’s win over IMG Academy had the national high school football scene abuzz on Friday night, one of the first notable upsets of the 2022 season’s national powerhouse group. It was a defensive masterpiece from the Rockets, who didn’t allow the home team to score in the second half— a rarity for IMG Academy, a team that has been near the top of the Super 25 rankings for the past few years, regardless if they are home or away.
Biggest game of the season: Thompson’s schedule is loaded. Their toughest game was their opener against Buford, but the Warriors will also take on No. 21 Lipscomb Academy (Nashville, Tenn.) at home this year. Games against Clay-Chalkville (Pinson, Ala.), Hewitt-Trussville (Trussville, Ala.) and Hoover (Ala.) later in the season will also challenge Thompson. The Warriors will certainly be battle-tested…
(IMG Academy’s four-star quarterback Jayden Bradford leaving after one play due to an apparent wrist injury certainly did not help matters either.)
When the clock struck zero, it was Central: 20, IMG Academy: 14. The comeback was complete after heading to halftime down 14-6. It’s a massive win and adds more national credibility to an already strong program in Miami Central, which never hurts in such an enormous landscape of top teams.