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 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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