Why the High School Football ‘Game of the Year' Between Duncanville and IMG Academy was Almost Canceled

Two powerhouse high school football programs will face off Saturday in Globe Life Park in Arlington

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High school football bragging rights between the states of Texas and Florida are on the line Saturday.

“They’ll play anyone, anywhere, any time and we do the same,” said IMG Academy football director Brian Griffin.

Both Duncanville, the number one team in Texas, and IMG Academy, the number one team in America, are willing to play any opponent, and the two powerhouse programs will face off Saturday in Globe Life Park in Arlington, though COVID-19 concerns involved with interstate travel almost proved to be too big an obstacle for this showcase game.

“I really was apprehensive about taking the game,” said Duncanville football coach Reginald Samples. “They sent us a lot of information going over IMG’s protocol as far as keeping their team safe. We actually copied some of the things they were doing.”

And what the sports academy out of Bradenton, Fla., is doing is essentially quarantining its football program together before, during and after trips around the country, while facing off against the other top high school football programs in America.

“Just like you do with offense, defense, and special teams, you have to apply these same things to travel,” Griffin said. “Making sure everyone handles their own bags, everyone handles their own trash, we take extra buses to get from A to B because we want to make sure we social distance.”

And making sure IMG Academy is ready to play in Texas for the first time since 2015, though the program’s approach – which includes many of the top players in the nation leaving their home states to live and train full-time in Florida has seen its fair share of criticism. But Duncanville isn’t worried about that.

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“I hear all the mumblings about the way they do things and how it’s really not something that we do,” said Samples. “But at the end of the day, this allows us to measure our team and see where we really are.”

See where they are, and grab a little national high school football bragging rights along the way.

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