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Les WillseyStaff Writer, AIA365.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Ironwood Ridge remains perfect, takes down CentennialSep 28, 2012
If its victory over Marcos de Niza last week didn't convince enough folks that Ironwood Ridge could challenge the big boys this season in Division II then perhaps the Nighthawks triumph over nationally-ranked Centennial Friday night will do the trick.
Ironwood Ridge stymied Centennial's offense in the first half and got the turnovers it needed in the second half to hand the Coyotes a 28-24 defeat before a boisterous homecoming crowd at Ironwood Ridge.
"On the one hand its just one regular season game," Ironwood Ridge coach Matt Johnson said. "On the other hand it's a big regular season win."
Ironwoood Ridge improved to 6-0 with its rather small, but very quick defense causing the visitors fits in the first half. It was the Nighhawks first win over Centennial dating back to 2008 when they met for the first time.
After spotting Centennial a 3-0 lead after failing to recover a lateral on its first plays from scrimmage, Ironwood Ridge ran off three successive touchdowns for a shocking 21-3 lead early in the second period. All three scores were runs by senior quarterback Tyler Williams of 2, 1 and 15 yards
Williams didn't post gaudy offensive numbers (44 yards rushing and 131 yards passing), but he combined with wideout Julian Figueroa on a pair of huge passing plays -- one of 75 yards that set up the Nighthawks' first TD and the second a 15-yard scoring strike that proved to be the game-winner early in the final period.
The first half bounty for Ironwood Ridge was seven sacks and limiting Centennial to 107 total yards. One of the Nighthawks TDs was set up by a fumble recovery by Scott Simmons. Centennial (5-1), which was ranked 17th in MaxPreps Xcellent 25 poll this week, pulled within 21-10 2:45 before the end of the half on Grant' first of three TD passes -- this one a 25-yarder to Xavier Villanueva.
The momentum from that score nearly left as Ironwood Ridge took its opening drive to the Centennial 10, thanks mainly to a 48-yard run by Anthony Braunreiter. Ironwood Ridge fumbled at the 10, however, and Centennial recovered.
Centennial marched 90 yards and took eight minutes off the clock tallying on a 25-yard pass from Grant to Jalen Ortiz.
Ortiz, who was limited to 49 yards rushing in the first half, nearly brought Centennial all the way back. He finished with 105 yards rushing and 125 yards receiving (all in the second half). His 88-yard TD catch and run made the Ironwood Ridge faithful a big squeamish the with 6:55 to play.
Centennial was marching in the final minute of the game but the last turnover of the night -- an interception by Ironwood Ridge's John Klass -- sealed the outcome.
"You have to give it to them," Centennial coach Richard Taylor said. "They caused the turnovers. They were the better team tonight."