The Ironwood Ridge High School football team edged Scottsdale's Notre Dame Prep 21-14 in a home playoff game on Thursday night.
The important win guaranteed the Nighthawks to a spot in round three of the Division II playoffs, to take place against Marcos de Niza/Cienega this Friday night.
Led by Mitch Fischer's 302 yards rushing, the Nighthawks broke open the game with two touchdowns in the third quarter. In the opening minute of the second half, the running back went around the left side for a 75-yard touchdown run.
Later in the quarter Fisher scored another touchdown, which culminated in an 80-yard, 12-play drive.
The game started with a scoreless first quarter, impacted by turnovers by both teams. Notre Dame's first possession resulted in a three and out, but Ironwood Ridge fumbled the punt return, allowing Notre Dame to take back the ball on Ironwood Ridge's 25-yard line.
Shortly afterward, Ironwood Ridge recovered from this mistake when No. 6, Jake Matthews, intercepted a pass from Notre Dame's quarterback, Jordan Gehrke.
A two-yard dive by Fischer, capped a 95-yard drive, and gave the nighthawks a 7-0 lead late in the second quarter. Notre Dame responded with a touchdown of its own, on a pass from Gehrke to No. 88, Grant Martinez, which capped a 72-yard, 12-play drive. This tied the game 7-7, with only 25 seconds remaining in the half.
The third quarter began with an exciting touchdown in the first minute. It was followed later in the quarter by another touchdown, this one featuring a 21-yard run by quarterback, Tyler Williams. Williams lead the offense on an 80-yard, 12-play drive, which ended with yet another touchdown run by Fischer.
However, Notre Dame did not give up, as they managed to secure a touchdown with 11 seconds remaining in the quarter after a 19-yard run by No. 44, Nick Cole.
The Nighthawks' defense, tough throughout the game, tightened up in the scoreless fourth quarter to secure the win 21-14. No. 45, Scott Simmons, who had two sacks for a loss in the quarter, and a notable tackle on a goal line stand in the second quarter, helped lead the defense.