Ironwood Ridge quickly shrugs off loss, looks to playoffs Friday - The Explorer: Sports

Ironwood Ridge quickly shrugs off loss, looks to playoffs Friday

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Posted: Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:23 am | Updated: 9:32 am, Sat Nov 17, 2012.

The stands were filled beyond capacity, players were pumped and only one team would have bragging rights of being Tucson’s best team heading into to the playoffs in Friday night’s season finale between top-ranked Ironwood Ridge, and second-place Salpointe.

By the end of the game, it was Salpointe celebrating the 27-14 victory, and for Ironwood Ridge it wasn’t this game that mattered for the 9-1 teams, it was the game coming up this Friday that deserved more attention.

Not taking anything away from a great game played by Salpointe, Ironwood Coach Matt Johnson quickly sent the message that this game was over, and the real season is about to be played.

“After win six in the regular season, the rest of these games are just gravy,” he said. “You have to give Salpointe credit, they were quick on the ball, they controlled the line of scrimmage. We made some mistakes tonight, but they are a great team.”

Senior quarterback and team leader Tyler Williams moved on before the final second ticked, telling the defense it’s time to look at the playoffs and in the end, “This game isn’t the one that matters.”

However, Ironwood Ridge left plenty on the field Friday night with several turnovers, failures to score in the red zone, and a tired defense that couldn’t stop the running game of Salpointe’s high-powered offense led by tailback Johnny Pena.

Pena rushed for 187 yards against the Nighthawks.

Early in the first quarter, it was Ironwood Ridge that came out firing on all cylinders. After forcing the Salpointe offense to a three and out on the first possession, Scott Simmons came in to block the Lancers’ punt.

Getting the ball at the Salpointe 2-yard-line, the Nighthawks quickly capitalized with Anthony Braunreiter running up the middle for the score. With the extra point, the Nighthawks led 7-0 with 8:10 left in the first quarter.

Salpointe’s offense woke up late in the first quarter, with quarterback Andrew Cota leading the Lancers downfield, capping off a 12-play drive with Pena pounding it in for the score. With 15 seconds in the opening quarter, a missed extra point had the Lancers trailing 7-6.

With Ironwood Ridge struggling on offense, Salpointe’s next drive would give the Lancers the lead with Pena scoring again from four yards out, making the score 13-7 with 10:13 remaining the first half.

Before halftime, the Lancers would score again, taking a commanding 20-7 lead into the locker room at halftime.

In the second half, the Nighthawks’ defense held the Lancers to one score, but the high-scoring Ironwood Ridge offense continued to struggle to get points on the board.

The Nighthawks would score again at the end of the third quarter when Tyler Williams ran to the left side for the touchdown and fourth down.

“It is what it is,” Williams said. “The bottom line is this game isn’t the state championship. It is important for us to get refocused. Yeah, we shot ourselves in the foot a little bit, but (Salpointe) played a good game. They were fast on the ball on offense and defense. They played a good game, and this will help us get a little more focused for the playoffs.”

Salpointe is now ranked first in Division II, while the Nighthawks dropped to third behind Marcos de Niza. 

With the second-place ranking, the Nighthawks will host 14th seed Prescott. Kick off is 7 p.m.

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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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