The past 10 seasons head coach Matt Johnson has stood on the Ironwood Ridge football sideline leading the Nighthawks.
Friday night was the first time in a decade that the home sideline for Ironwood Ridge didn’t have coach Johnson. Instead, he played the part of the rival with him now being the head coach at Mountain View. The winning coach was Ironwood Ridge’s first-year coach James Hardy Jr.
With all the excitement and hype surrounding the game, the Nighthawks wasted little time, as cornerback Cameron Drescher took the opening kick-off for a 50-yard return. The explosive return set-up Ironwood Ridge at the Mountain View 40 yard-line in prime position to start the opening drive.
However, the Nighthawks couldn’t convert the opening kick into any points seeing the drive result in a turnover on downs.
Drives stalling or abruptly ending from a turnover was the theme throughout the ball game. This came center stage late in the first quarter with Mountain View trying to advance the ball down field resulting in a game-changing pick from Drescher, returning it 35 yards for a touchdown for the first score of the game.
The Nighthawks’ defense was up to the task, making the night a tough and uncomfortable experience for Mountain View.
Every time Mountain View looked like it could get back into the game Ironwood Ridge’s defense turned it away or took the ball. One of those moments came with 8 minutes to go in the second quarter on thee Ironwood Ridge 4 yard-line with Mountain View down by seven looking to score on fourth and goal.
The Lions decided to go for the touchdown in hopes of tying the game only to be turned away with a goal line stand from the Nighthawks defense.
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In any game, you need a little luck to go your way rather it be a call that went your way, or a ball that bounces just right in your favor. There are always moments with a little luck. That moment came for Ironwood Ridge quarterback Fabian Figueroa, who launched the ball down field to wideout Thomas Smith just over the finger tips of the Lions defense for a 48 yard touchdown pass putting the Nighthawks up 14-0 midway through the second quarter.
Ironwood Ridge would get another turnover with 4 minutes left in the half to set up its offense in prime position. The Nighthawks seized the opportunity meticulously moving the ball into scoring position before finishing the drive with another passing touchdown from Figueroa to wideout Hudson Thompson, giving Ironwood Ridge a commanding leading entering the half.
The second half slowed down to a grinding halt seeing both offenses unable to muster up any rhythm on the field.
However, Mountain View was able to finally break through on the scoreboard with a rushing touchdown from quarterback Hayden Parson to make it 21-7 Ironwood Ridge.
The game would end with the score of 21-7 Ironwood Ridge over rival Mountain View and former head coach Matt Johnson. This when has the first career win for Ironwood Ridge head coach James Hardy Jr. making it a night to remember.
The player that stood out from the rest was Drescher, who made his impact felt from the opening kickoff. Drescher racked up 85 yards between his kick return and the pick-6 that swayed the momentum to the Ironwood Ridge side of the field.
His play set the tone for the game, The Nighthawks defense named him Drescher the player of the game.