Nighthawks soar to 4-0 - The Explorer: Sports

Nighthawks soar to 4-0

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Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2012 10:08 am | Updated: 11:19 am, Wed Sep 19, 2012.

The Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks’ football team was already in a very good position heading into last Friday night’s match up against the Cholla Chargers. The team had won its first three contests by a combined 109 points, while Cholla had struggled to an 0-3 record and combined deficit of 77 points. The Nighthawks stepped it up a notch on Friday though, completely overpowering the Chargers en route to a 62-6 shellacking.

“I thought our kids did a great job,” said Nighthawks’ coach Matt Johnson. “They were real focused all week, and just wanted to come out and execute, which they obviously did.”

The game didn’t start out appearing like such a mismatch, as Cholla made a decent drive on the opening possession. However, once the Chargers punted the ball to the Nighthawks, it became clear who was going to take control. Only six plays after the punt return to the 29 yard line, Ironwood began their scoring brigade off a 16-yard pass from quarterback Tyler Williams to senior Jake Matthews.

Williams would convert on another touchdown pass to Matthews in the first quarter, scoring on a 36-yard pass to make it 14-0.

With momentum firmly on their side, the Nighthawks exploded in the second quarter. They put up 28 points to head to the locker room up 42-0 at halftime.

Notable plays among these drives were a 65-yard carry and 19-yard touchdown fumble return by senior Julian Figeroua, and a 96-yard touchdown carry by Williams off a Cholla turnover near the end zone.

Willams and Matthews continued to carry the team both statistically and in leadership as has been the case throughout the season. Due to the lopsided nature of the game, both only played in the first half. However, Williams still managed to rack up a combined 228 offensive yards, while Matthews tallied 99 receiving yards.

“The great thing about Tyler and Jake and a lot of my seniors is that they’re humble,” Johnson said. “All the players believe in them because of their hard work, not because of a highlight or a newspaper article, but because of their sweat. So it’s a real blessing to coach those guys.”

Despite sitting most of their starters for the duration of the second half, the Nighthawks still managed to significantly outplay the Chargers. Junior QB Austin Campbell took over the reins and impressed with a 16 yard passing touchdown to senior tight end Eddie Gonzalez, as well as two short TOUCHDOWN carries for 6 and 11 yards.

After going into the fourth quarter down 56-0, Cholla was finally able to get itself on the scoreboard off a 5 yard TOUCHDOWN run by Eliu Hernandez. That would be the only six points the Chargers would manage on the night though.

Despite the utterly dominant performance Friday night, Coach Johnson is determined to not allow his team to get overconfident. He believes there are still areas the team can improve and tune up.

“We still got to improve our line play on offense” Johnson said. “That’s definitely the focus right now.”

Standing at 4-0 now, the Nighthawks look like a powerhouse at the moment and would appear the local favorite for a state title run this season. Coach Johnson doesn’t want to look that far ahead yet though.

“I think we [still] have to get better each week,” Johnson said. “We’re close but we’re not there yet.”

Ironwood Ridge will face its first real competition this Friday night in Tempe at Marcos de Niza, who also have powered their to way to a 4-0 start. Kickoff is at 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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