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IRONWOOD RIDGE NIGHTHAWKS
2021 RECORD: 6-5 (loss to Desert Mountain in first round of 5A state playoffs)
- James Hardy Jr.. who replaced Matt Johnson in 2019, has moved on to coach in the Houston area this fall and Ironwood Ridge made the move to hire Amphi High School Class of 1976 graduate Dale Stott to replace him. Stott was an assistant at Santa Rita from 1983-86 before embarking on his medical career in anesthesiology. Stott, a certified strength and conditioning coach,served as an offensive line coach at St. George (Utah) Pine View High School from 2003-13 and then from 2019 until last season. In between, he served as coach of semipro teams in St. George. He also coached a team in Italy from December 2018 to August 2019. He has moved his medical practice from St. George to Tucson.
- Ironwood Ridge has also lost Class of 2023 running back Jordan Thomas to CDO. Thomas rushed for 1,006 yards on 125 carries with 14 touchdowns last season for the Nighthawks.
- Ironwood Ridge has a challenging non-region schedule with games against upstart Mica Mountain to begin the season Sept. 2 at home followed by games at Campo Verde (Sept. 9) and Desert Edge (Sept. 23 after a bye week). Sunnyside then visits Sept. 30.
- Mica Mountain (3-3) nearly made the 4A state playoffs in its first season of varsity games last year with Pat Nugent as coach. Campo Verde finished 4-7 last season, including a 13-7 loss at Ironwood Ridge in the third game of the season. Because of Campo Verde’s tough region games against Saguaro and Horizon, the Coyotes qualified for the state playoffs based on power points. They lost to Sunrise Mountain in a first-round game. Desert Edge lost at Salpointe in the 5A state semifinals
- Ironwood Ridge is in the 5A Southern with Buena, Cienega, Desert View, Mountain View and Tucson. The Nighthawks play three of five regional games at home, including the first two against Desert View (Oct. 14) and Cienega (Oct. 21) and the last one of the regular season against Buena (Nov. 11).
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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com publisher, writer and editor Javier Morales is a former Arizona Press Club award winner. He is a former Arizona Daily Star beat reporter for the Arizona basketball team, including when the Wildcats won the 1996-97 NCAA title. He has also written articles for CollegeAD.com, Bleacher Report, Lindy’s Sports, TucsonCitizen.com, The Arizona Republic, Sporting News and Baseball America, among many other publications. He has also authored the book “The Highest Form of Living”, which is available at Amazon. He became an educator five years ago and is presently a special education teacher at Gallego Fine Arts Intermediate in the Sunnyside Unified School District.