Nighthawks fall to Badgers, 51-30 - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks fall to Badgers, 51-30

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Posted: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 4:00 am | Updated: 9:05 am, Thu Oct 17, 2013.

The high-powered offense of the Tucson High Badgers (6-1) proved too much for the defending D-II state champion Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks (5-2) on Friday night.

The 51-30 victory gave the Badgers their sixth win in a row, and marked them as a serious contender in conference play as playoffs approach.

Ironwood Ridge collected a safety early on after Kai Ellingboe blocked an end zone punt to put the Nighthawks up 2-0, but as was a theme all night, whenever Ironwood Ridge found its place on the scoreboard, Tucson High did the same.

The Badgers answered with a touchdown – the only of the quarter between either team – in their next drive on Donovan Moore’s 1-yard quarterback keeper, capping off a 10-play, 75-yard drive.

Moore finished the game with 192 rushing yards to go with 134 yards in the air on 10-13 passing.

The two teams would combine for 35 points in the second quarter, kick-started by a 60-yard rushing touchdown by running back Bryce Coleman to build a 14-2 Badgers lead.

Ironwood Ridge’s defense shortened the gap to 14-9 off of a fumble recovery turned touchdown, but Tucson High drove to the Nighthawks 5-yard line four plays later, leading to a Nick Sandoval touchdown to make it 20-9 after a failed two-point conversion.

The Nighthawks never quit though, and Jake Vartanian was the catalyst behind their determination.

The senior running back rushed for three touchdowns and 296 yards on the night, his first score coming with less than two minutes left in the half after he bounced off a defender and broke free for a 53-yard touchdown. A successful two-point conversion put the Nighthawks within three points – the closest they would come all night.

The Badgers closed out the half with a 98-yard kick return from Elijah Anderson, and started the second half in the same fashion, kicking in a field goal and adding a 10-yard passing score to make it 37-17.

Vartanian kept the Nighthawks’ hopes alive with 1:12 remaining in the third when he went 81 yards down the sideline for a touchdown.

But Vartanian’s third touchdown, a 25-yarder, came too late, as the Badgers had built a 51-24 lead with only minutes remaining. Vartanian’s score made it 51-30, but the clock wound out before the Nighthawks could threaten a comeback.  

Ironwood Ridge head coach Matt Johnson says despite the loss, there was something to be learned.

“This was a playoff-type game,” he said. “If we’re lucky enough to get into the playoffs, this was a great game to get ready.”

The Nighthawks square off at home against Mountain View on Friday.

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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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