The Ironwood Ridge football team improved to 3-0 Friday night, despite a turnover-plagued game that led to a 42-13 victory over Tucson High.
There were nine turnovers in the game, with Ironwood Ridge having four turnovers, and Tucson High with five. One of the big plays of the night came on defense for Ironwood Ridge when Jake Matthews ran a botched backward pass 30 yards for the touchdown.
The Nighthawks continue to dominate in the 2012 season, outscoring opponents 136-27 in the first three games. Just like last year, the Nighthawks’ running game is causing a lot of problems for opposing defenses, with quarterback Tyler Williams and tailback Anthony Braunreiter running through gaps opened by a strong offensive line.
On Friday, Braunreiter had a third consecutive game where he hit triple digits, rushing for 104 yards and four touchdowns.
However, despite the high score and strong rushing game Friday, this wasn’t a pretty victory.
In the first quarter, the Nighthawks’ offense got off to a quick start, with Braunreiter capping off an eight-play drive with a three-yard touchdown. The drive was extended one play earlier on a fourth and short with Williams running for the first down.
With the two-point conversion, the Nighthawks took an 8-0 lead with 7:12 left in the opening quarter.
Tucson had the first turnover of the night with 5:12 left in the opening quarter, when Kai Ellingboe recovered a botched snap, giving the Nighthawks the ball near midfield.
The Nighthawks moved the ball quickly, finding themselves with a fourth down and goal on the seven-yard-line. Williams threw the ball to the corner of the end zone, and Tucson’s Markell Simmons out-jumped Matthews for the interception and touchback.
However, the celebration was short when Tucson quarterback Cam Volk threw an interception to Nighthawks’ defender Clay Allen on the very next play.
Four plays later, the Nighthawks capitalized with another Braunreiter score. The point after was blocked, giving the Nighthawks a 14-0 lead with 31.5 seconds left in the first.
Braunreiter scored again before halftime on a three-yard run.
On the next drive, Tucson High followed the lead of Donovan Moore, who was all over the field for the Badgers, getting all the way to the Nighthawks’ 30-yard line.
The drive would end badly when Volk’s backward pass to Moore was mishandled, allowing Matthews to scoop it up and run 34 yards to paydirt, giving the Nighthawks a 27-0 lead with 6:23 left in the first half.
The Nighthawks scored again before halftime, with Williams hitting John Klass for the 10-yard touchdown with 4:47 left
The Badgers scored two touchdowns in the second half. Tucson High continued to have ball control issues in the second half, but managed to put two touchdowns on the board.