If Ironwood Ridge Football Coach Matt Johnson plays poker, he's probably a pretty good bluffer.
Wednesday he said the 2013 version of his Nighthawks would have to throw the ball to win.
Yeah not so much.
The champs were knocked down early in their opener against Peoria Liberty as the Lions scored on their first two possessions to take a 14-0 lead.
But like true champions IRHS got up off the deck scoring five touchdowns in the second half for a 42-40 victory in a game that did not finish until 12:30 Saturday morning due to two and half hours of weather delays.
Lightning in Oro Valley delayed the start time of the contest from 7 p.m. to 8:45. And then just after kickoff the Lions struck lightning quick when quarterback Tyler Wyatt took the first play of the game 72 yards for a touchdown.
With Liberty leading 17-7 at the half the game was delayed again for an hour due to lightning.
When the teams returned they turned Nighthawks Field into a storm of touchdowns; six in the third quarter.
Ironwood Ridge dominated on the ground behind the running of senior Jake Vartanian and sophomore Cole McLafferty. The tandem combined to run for over 350 yards each scoring three touchdowns. Vartanian highlighted the barrage with a 75-yard scamper to give Ironwood Ridge a double-digit lead at 42-31.
The Nighthawks had to survive a late Lions touchdown with their defense coming up big to stop a two-point conversion that would have tied the game.
Ironwood Ridge plays again at Cienega next Friday night.
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