Nighthawks upset Centennial 28-24, ranked second in state - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks upset Centennial 28-24, ranked second in state

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Posted: Wednesday, October 3, 2012 4:00 am

Tyler Williams found the end zone anyway he could on Friday night, passing for one touchdown and rushing for three more in the Nighthawks’ defeat of Centennial, 28-24. 

With the victory, Ironwood Ridge moved from a ranking of fourth in the state to second, sitting behind No. 1 ranked Desert Ridge (Mesa).

An early fumble by the Nighthawks put Centennial on the Ironwood 21-yard line, but the Nighthawk defense held the Coyotes to the eight-yard line to force the field goal. 

Down 3-0, Williams wasted little time in putting the Nighthawks on the board.

Under pressure, Williams found wide receiver Julian Figueroa, who sped downfield for a 75-yard gain to put the Nighthawks on the five-yard line. 

After a three-yard gain by running back Anthony Braunreiter, Williams would carry the ball the rest of the way to give Ironwood Ridge a 7-3 advantage.

But Williams was only warming up, and the Nighthawk defense put him in scoring position again after linebacker Scott Simmons recovered a high snap by the Coyotes.

On the Centennial nine-yard line, Braunreiter closed the gap with a gain of eight, and Williams covered the last yard to build a 14-3 lead.

Simmons then struck again on defense, forcing a loss by sacking Centennial’s Tre’von Grant. The Coyotes had to punt, giving the Nighthawks the ball on their own 44-yard line.

Williams connected with wide receiver Jake Matthews along the sideline for a gain of 35 and running back Jake Vartanian added another 11 yards rushing to put the Nighthawks on Centennial’s 15-yard line, where Williams again took over, hurdling over a defender and landing in the end zone for a 21-3 lead.

With the half winding down, Centennial finally found an answer when Grant went to the air, finding Xavier Villanueva for a 25-yard touchdown.

Out of the half, Centennial would close the deficit to four points when an offensive drive led the Coyotes 65 yards downfield. Grant found Jalen Ortiz for a 25-yard touchdown pass to bring the game to 21-17.

The two teams would swap possession through the early minutes of the fourth quarter when, again, the Nighthawk defense continued to haunt the Coyotes when Jake Matthews intercepted a pass by Grant to bring back the Ironwood Ridge offense.

On second and 10 from the Coyotes’ 15-yard line, Williams found Figueroa in the end zone for a 28-17 advantage. 

Centennial responded with an 88-yard touchdown run from Ortiz with six minutes remaining in the half to close the deficit to 28-24. After Ironwood Ridge surrendered to a punt on offense, the Coyotes pushed their way to the Nighthawks’ 46-yard line with 28 seconds remaining. Grant found space and launched downfield, but his pass was intercepted by John Klass, who was brought down with only seven seconds remaining in the game. 

“We tried keeping up the pressure so the QB didn’t have too much time, but I had to have guys back there for that interception, so it was a tough situation,” said Head Coach Matt Johnson.

Williams took a knee to run the clock out, and send the Nighthawks into celebration. 

“This is the biggest win I’ve ever been a part of,” said Williams. “I’m really proud of my guys. We faced adversity, and we bounced back when the odds were against us. It’s only week six, and I can’t stress that enough. By no means is this a state championship game, so we’re going to enjoy this for tonight, and then starting tomorrow, we keep learning.” The Nighthawks will face Mountain View (4-2) on Friday.

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HS Schedule

Tuesday, September 30

Boys Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View at Haven Golf Course

Ironwood Ridge, Buena, Catalina at Rincon (Dell Urich)

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

Marana at CDO

Maricopa at Mountain View

Ironwood Ridge at Vista Grande

Poston Butte at Catalina Foothills

San Miguel at Pusch Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Wednesday, October 1

Girls Golf (3 p.m.)

Mountain View vs. Ironwood Ridge (Omnu Tucson National)

CDO, Sunnyside at Flowing Wells (Silverbell)

Sabino at Catalina Foothills

Cross Country (4:30 p.m.)

Ironwood Ridge, Sahuarita at Flowing Wells (Columbus Park)

Marana, St. Gregory at Catalina Foothills

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

CDO at Ironwood Ridge

Freshman Football (6 p.m.)

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills at CDO

JV Football (6.p.m.)

Marana at Maricopa

Salpointe at Mountain View

CDO at Catalina Foothills

Thursday, October 2

Swimming (4 p.m.)

Mountain View, St. Gregory’s, Pusch Ridge at Marana

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

Mountain View at Poston Butte

Catalina Foothills at Flowing Wells

Pusch Ridge at Willcox

Varsity Football (7p.m.)

Maricopa at Marana

Mountain View at Salpointe

Catalina Foothills @ CDO

Ironwood Ridge at Rincon

Friday, October 3

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Girls Vollyeball (all day)

CDO, Catalina Foothills at Falcon Invitational

Cross Country

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Desert Twilight Festival

Varsity Footbal (7 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at San Tan Valley

Saturday, October 4

Boys Golf (all day)

CDO at Santa Rita/Flowing Wells Invitational

Swimming (all day)

Catalina Foothills, CDO, Ironwood Ridge at Brophy/Xavier Swim Invitational

Girls Volleyball (4 p.m.)

Pusch Ridge at Desert Christian

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