Citizen Staff Writer
IRONWOOD RIDGE 55 TUCSON HIGH 26
There is no more dangerous moment in sports than the week after a huge win.
Ironwood Ridge High School found itself in one of those moments, still thinking about a 41-14 win over Salpointe Catholic on Oct. 10, almost forgetting it was facing an athletic Tucson High team Friday.
The Nighthawks won 55-26, but needed 21 fourth-quarter points to seal it. Lots of things slowed Ironwood down: poor execution, a speedy Tucson High offense and a 30-minute injury delay in the third quarter, all ingredients for a potential trap game. “There was no doubt we came out flat; it was pretty obvious,” Nighthawks coach Gary Minor said. “(Tucson High was) extremely athletic on offense and they really made us work defensively.”
Tucson High stormed to a 16-6 first-half lead before Ironwood’s Scott Campbell caught a pass in the end zone to make the score 16-13. On the next defensive series, Jake Fischer intercepted a pass that set up a 1-yard TD run by Tyler Damore to make it 20-16.
The Nighthawks added a pair of TDs in the third quarter, including a spectacular 78-yard catch by Campbell despite having a defender pulling on his jersey.
The game turned somber when Tucson High’s Glen Meriweather injured his hip with 3:32 left in the third. When play resumed, the Badgers cut the lead to 34-26 with 11 minutes left.
But Ironwood scored the next 21 points behind a ground game that gained 264 yards, led by Fischer’s 107 yards on 13 carries.
“I’m really proud of the kids and how they tried to get back,” Badgers coach Vincent Smith said. “But the reality of it is, when your brother (Meriweather) is down, you’re going to be hurting a little bit.”