DESOTO — Nationally ranked IMG Academy capitalized on the mistakes its cross-country foe DeSoto made early in the first half to roll to an eventual 47-29 victory at Eagles Stadium Saturday.
“We came out with a lot of emotion, we played well early, but then on offense and in special teams, it got away from us early,” Desoto coach Todd Peterman said. “It was kind of like last week (DeSoto lost its season-opener 46-26 to Arlington Martin). We just have to bounce back and get better at some things.”
With 8:06 in the second quarter, IMG led 13-9. DeSoto responded to IMG’s lead with a four-play, 75-yard touchdown drive, capped off by a 40-yard run from LD Brown. The Eagles led 15-13 with 6:45 left in the half, and that’s the last time the Eagles were in IMG’s grasp.
Things went south fast toward the end of the second quarter when the Ascenders scored twice within 54 seconds of playing time.
DeSoto quarterback and Ohio State pledge Tristen Wallace scrambled right after receiving some pressure from IMG’s defensive front, was struck, fumbled, and then free safety Londyn Craft scooped and scored to regain the lead, 20-15, with 2:11 left in the half. On the ensuing possession, Wallace threw a lofty pass that got intercepted and returned for a touchdown by Elvis Hines Jr. The Ascenders led the Eagles 28-15 at the half.
“We were running the ball well, (Eagles had 167 rushing yards in the first half) but then they [IMG] started to load the box, we had to throw it,” Peterman said. “We did have some guys open down field, but I know Tristen was feeling a lot of pressure. They’re a good team, and when you’re playing a good team like that, we can’t have multiple turnovers and bad special teams play.”
The third quarter began with IMG’s quarterback and Ole Miss pledge Shea Patterson finding Drake Davis on a slant route, who shed a tackle and then took it 41 yards for the touchdown. The next two scores came by way of the Ascenders’ bell cow, Tony Jones. Jones punched in scores from a yard and four yards out to gain a 47-15 lead.
With a comfortable lead, IMG sent in its second team. DeSoto’s defensive back Caleb Abrom baited IMG’s backup quarterback, Louis Colosimo, picked him off and returned it 68 yards for the score. DeSoto’s sophomore running back Kelan Walker punched in the two-point conversion, to cut IMG’s lead, 47-23.
IMG sent in its starting backfield after the pick-six, but punted on its last possession, and the Eagles capitalized, but it was too late.
Brown scored his second touchdown of the contest on a quick four-yard run to the outside with 4:34 left. Brown ended his day with 11 carries for 109 yards and two scores.
Wallace finished 14 of 24 for 112 yards and two interceptions.
“We’ve got to get better as a group. Today wasn’t a lack of effort. I think our guys gave great effort throughout, but our lack of simple execution is what let it get away from us so quickly. We need to get better at the basics.”