Chandler Football Growing After IMG Academy Matchup

The Chandler Wolves took on the IMG Academy on Saturday night in a national top-15 matchup. IMG walked away with the win 27-14, and here are a few notes from the game.

Chandler Football Notes

  • Quarterback Jacob Conover played the first half but left the game with an injury to his throwing arm. Conover was in a sling for the second half of the game, and head coach Shaun Aguano said after the game he thought Conover had a sprained AC joint in his shoulder. Aguano went on to say he felt Conover could have played the second half but did not want to risk further injury. This will be something to keep an eye on over the coming weeks.
  • Wide receiver Gunner Romney played quite a few of these IMG players while at The Opening this summer, and the wide receiver already seems to be in midseason form. Coming off a junior season where he had 1,300 receiving yards, Romney caught a touchdown pass from Conover in the first half and was on the receiving end of backup quarterback Billy Bolger’s best throw of the night in the second half. 
  • The Chandler defense had a tall task in slowing down a potent IMG offense and an offensive line that averaged well over 300 pounds per lineman. Aguano said on paper the Wolves looked outmatched, but they came to play, especially when six of IMG’s points came from a blocked punt returned for a touchdown. The Wolves really started their championship run last year after the defense stepped up, and it seems like that side of the ball is already playing dominant football.
  • IMG defensive end Xavier Thomas is the #2 recruit according to Scout.com, and I got to see the Clemson commit up close at The Opening. He was far and away the best performer there, making the top offensive tackles look silly. Chandler did a good job limiting Thomas’ impact, but he did have some nice plays including batting down multiple passes for incompletes.
  • Credit Shaun Aguano and the Chandler coaching staff for not shying away from bold calls on special teams. IMG blocked Chandler’s first punt attempt and recovered the ball in the end zone. Later in the game, Chandler could have easily gone the safe route and punted the ball of on fourth down and short, but they pulled off a fake punt to perfection and that breathed some life into the crowd.
  • Former Chandler greats and current ASU players Chase Lucas and N’Keal Harry were some of the many Chandler alums in attendance. ASU opens their season on Thursday against New Mexico State.

Chandler represented Arizona well in this nationally televised game, and their next game comes against the 2-0 Pinnacle Pioneers on Friday.

Mixing his passions for sports and storytelling, Jordan comes to Sports360az as a multimedia reporter/producer looking to share the best stories Arizona has to offer. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @JordyHamm