Tigers fall to Nighthawks - The Explorer: Sports

Tigers fall to Nighthawks

Ironwood Ridge unstoppable in spite of power outage

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Posted: Wednesday, September 7, 2011 3:00 am

A week after handing Canyon Del Oro its first regular season loss since 2008, the biggest concern for Ironwood Ridge High School’s football team was suffering a letdown against Marana.

However, a strong start with 23 first-quarter points put that fear to rest as the Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks (2-0) went on to a convincing 51-12 win over the visiting Tigers (0-2) Friday.

“I was worried about a letdown,” said Nighthawk coach Matt Johnson. “We practiced really hard. I was on our kids on Monday and Tuesday.”

Nighthawks’ senior Mitch Fischer opened the game with a 25-yard run up the middle. A couple plays later, quarterback Tyler Williams faked a handoff and kept it, running 29 yards to paydirt.

On the next series, Fischer broke a 30-yard run down to Marana’s 10-yard line, eventually setting up a 7-yard touchdown run by Fischer. A run by Williams on the conversion made it 15-0.

It seemed like nothing could stop the Nighthawks’ running game. For the second consecutive week, they pounded out at least 325 yards on the ground. Fischer was in a perpetual state of readiness, gaining 114 yards on only five carries, and scoring two touchdowns.

“You can’t underestimate your opponent,” he said.

Williams ran for 75 yards and two touchdowns on three carries. Junior running back Anthony Braunreiter gained 52 yards and a touchdown on five carries. The offensive line helped the Nighthawks gain 325 yards on 32 rushes.

“They’re great,” Fischer said about his line. “I expect that from them every game.”

So far, the future looks bright for the Nighthawks. The team has won nine of their last 10 games (if you include the end of last season) and has two impressive wins already this year. The team is ranked No. 16 in Arizona. Still, team members are cautious not to let their current winning streak go to their heads.

“We’ve got a long ways to go,” Johnson said. “We still need to work on some things.”

The only thing that seemed to slow down the Nighthawks Friday night was a brief power outage. A section of the overhead lights went out, as wind emerged, and lightning and rain seemed to be on the horizon. The rain never came, but the game play did stop for about 10 minutes. Although the lights never came back in full force, there was enough light for the game to resume.

A 50-yard touchdown by Fischer gave the Nighthawks a

21-0 lead in the first, and woke up the Tigers’ offense.

Marana sophomore quarterback Ben Honea completed all four of his passes on his next drive.

A 24-yard pass completion to Randy LaFaye put the ball on the Ironwood Ridge 39-yard line. Then, Davon Roebuck caught an 8-yard pass. After a penalty moved the ball down to the 26, Honea hooked up with LaFaye again for a 26-yard touchdown pass.

The extra point failed, and it was 21-6.

“Our front line did well in protecting Honea,” said Marana coach Anthony Coronado.

Honea finished 7 of 19 passes for 108 yards and two touchdowns.

Marana fullback Tanner Morse carried seven times for 26 yards.

Roebuck intercepted a pass to give the ball right back to Marana, but the Tigers’ offense was pinned deep in its own territory and couldn’t escape.

Under pressure, Honea wound up backed up in his end zone; he grounded the ball in the end zone for a safety, which gave the Nighthawks a 23-6 lead.

The Nighthawks’ offense quickly capitalized on the opportunity. Fischer caught a pass, broke several tackles, and went 28 yards down to the Tigers’ 17-yard line. Ironwood’s Braunreiter ran for 16 yards, and then scored on a 1-yard run.

Williams ran for a 50-yard touchdown, and the Nighthawks rolled to a 51-6 halftime lead.

The Tigers could have easily packed it in, especially with all the injuries they’ve already suffered this year.

“We came in banged up,” Coronado said. “We had three or four kids lost (to injury) in the first half.”

The Tigers persevered and, early in the fourth quarter, scored their only touchdown of the second half.

Honea had 8-yard and 7-yard runs. Suddenly, he found Eric Huerta for a 10-yard touchdown pass. Huerta finished with three catches for 34 yards.

“The kids didn’t give up,” Coronado said. “I was proud to coach a group that wants to play football. I just wish we could be healthy.”

Marana will host Rincon this Friday at 7 p.m.

Ridge will play host to Tucson High. Coach Johnson is not taking Tucson lightly.

“Tucson is an explosive team with a lot of speed,” he noted.


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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 16

Boys Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Buena, Cienega at Marana

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge, Catalina at Amphi (Silverbell GC)

Catalina Foothills, Pueblo, Sahuarita at Sahuaro

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Mountain View at Rio Rico

Ironwood Ridge at Glendale Ironwood

Swimming (@4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge, Sahuarita at Desert Christian

Wednesday, September 17

Girls Golf (@ 3 p.m.)

Rincon at CDO

Ironwood Ridge, Desert View at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Cross Country (@4:30)

Salpointe at Catalina Foothills

Palo Verde, Nogales at Marana

Rincon, St. Gregory at CDO

Sahuarita, Pueblo, Pusch Ridge at Desert View

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Empire at Marana (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

CDO at Queen Creek

Cienega at Mountain View

Sahuaro at Catalina Foothills

Walden Grove at Pusch Ridge

Thursday, September 18

Girls Golf

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Boys Golf

Sahuaro and Salpointe at Ironwood Ridge

CDO, Rincon, Sunnyside at Tucson High

Girls Volleyball (Fr 4 p.m., JV 5 p.m., Var 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Marana at Sahuarita

Ironwood Ridge at Sahuaro (4:30, 5:30, 6:30)

Catalina Foothills at Rincon

Pusch Ridge at San Manuel

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Marana vs. Tucson at Quincy Douglas Pool

Cienega at Marana

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Amphi

Catalina Foothills at Sahuaro

Freshman Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Flowing Wells at Marana (4 p.m.)

Desert View at Mountain View

Cienega at CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

JV Football (all games at 6 p.m. unless otherwise noted)

Amphi at Marana

Santa Cruz Valley at Pusch Ridge

Mountain View at Desert View

CDO at Cienega

Buena at Ironwood Ridge

Sahuarita at Catalina Foothills

Friday, September 19

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Mountain View, Ironwood Ridge at Mt. Carmel Invitational (San Diego, CA)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions

Football (@7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Santa Cruz Valley

Catalina at Marana

Desert Vista at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Buena

Cienega at CDO

Catalina Foothills at Sahuarita

Saturday, September 20

Boys Golf

Catalina Foothills, Ironwood Ridge, CDO, at Phoenix Aguila Invitational (all day)

Cross Country

Marana at Old Pueblo Invite(Lincoln Park)

Mountain View at San Diego

Catalina Foothills, CDO at Ojo Rojo (Chandler, AZ)


Marana at Wolves Classic (Chandler High)

Girls Volleyball

CDO at Westwood Tournament of Champions


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