Highlight defeated Team Nitro 31-21, with the O'Connor to Scarbrough connection aiding the victory.

IMG connection helps win Under Armour All-American Gamejdill@bradenton.comJanuary 3, 2014 

IMG Academy Ascenders running back Bo Scarbrough speaks to the media after accepting his Under Armour jersey for the 2014 All-American Game. PAUL VIDELA/Bradenton Herald


ST. PETERSBURG -- Michael O'Connor rolled to his left and wedged a pass into a space between two defenders that only Bo Scarbrough could grab.

The high school teammates connected on a 32-yard pass play that set up a touchdown - and breathing room - for Team Highlight in the annual Under Armour All-American Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

Highlight defeated Team Nitro 31-21, with the O'Connor to Scarbrough connection aiding the victory.

The two spent the fall building IMG Academy's inaugural foray into Florida high school football as seniors.

And Thursday, they were given the chance to sparkle on a big stage - the Under Armour All-American Game was televised live on ESPN and featured a plethora of top talent, which included the No. 1 rated prospect according to ESPN, Leonard Fournette (New Orleans native, LSU commit).

"It's the best of the best," Scarbrough said. "So you've got to go compete or you're going to get shown up."

O'Connor, who led Manatee County quarterbacks with 1,661 passing yards in the regular season, started slowly.

O'Connor subbed in for starter Sean White (Fort Lauderdale University, Auburn commit) late in the first quarter and went 0-for-3, while taking a sack.

Eventually, O'Connor found some footing and it was his pinpoint accuracy to Scarbrough in the third quarter that set up a 10-yard touchdown pass from O'Connor to Florida State University commit Travis Rudolph (West Palm Beach Cardinal Newman).

That gave Team Highlight a 17-7 lead, one that they nev

er relinquished.

"Bo is awesome," O'Connor said. "It was fun working with him here. And to throw that deep ball to him, and he made a great play on it that was awesome to make an IMG connection."

Scarbrough is an Alabama recruit, and O'Connor is still a Penn State University commit.

However, O'Connor originally planned on early enrolling at Penn State.

Those plans have changed as the news of Nittany Lions head coach Bill O'Brien leaving for the Houston Texans head coaching vacancy was reported recently.

"I've got to keep my options open," O'Connor said. "In case they get a different coach that runs a different styled offense. So I have to prepare for that. So I just have to sit and see what happens."

O'Connor finished 3-for-6 with 45 passing yards and one touchdown, while Scarbrough tallied 81 all-purpose yards.

Scarbrough had two catches for 39 yards, two rushes for 16 yards and one kick return for 26 yards.

Team Highlight's MVP was White, who went 10-for-12 with 156 passing yards and two touchdowns.

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