High School Football

CDO shows resilience in gritty comeback win over Ironwood Ridge

CDO has won back-to-back games after starting the season 0-3 (All Sports Tucson)

CDO overcame an early 14-point deficit to win its second consecutive game of the season, beating Ironwood Ridge 26-22 at home on Friday night in a game decided on the last two possessions.

“That’s what Friday nights are about; that was a heck of a football team and a heck of a game two weeks in a row,” CDO head coach Dustin Peace said.  “To come out and pull that one out, obviously they made it difficult on us there at the end and throughout the whole game, so without a doubt, for us to come up and make that last play, get the ball on the ground or whatever happened and make a tackle for the win – I couldn’t be happier for our team.”

When Ironwood Ridge running back Landon Billings scored an 11-yard rushing touchdown with 10:02 remaining in the fourth quarter that put Ironwood Ridge up 22-19; the momentum shifted back to the Nighthawks, who held on to a lead for most of the game.

CDO marched down the field on the following roughly 8-minute possession that culminated in a short touchdown pass by Caden Dawes that put CDO up 26-22. 

“It was a nailbiter for sure,” Dawes said. “I don’t know, it was crazy. My receiver forgot his route and I just told him, and that’s our winning touchdown right there.”

CDO’s game-winning touchdown drive appeared to be over a few plays earlier on a fourth and one situation that the officials ruled short until they brought the chains out to measure after an uproar in the stadium and from the CDO coaching staff. 

“I just think it was a close game, a close call, and I appreciate the officials being diligent about that,” Peace said. “Without a doubt, it was obviously a difficult call for everybody, and that’s the game of football. It comes down to inches in so many ways, inches down here and inches over there, and inches everywhere, and we were able to come out on top of those breaks tonight.”

Ironwood Ridge wasn’t ready to throw in the towel by any means, as the Nighthawks quickly pushed the ball down the field with a couple of big passes on the final possession of the game.

Then, deep in the red zone, when it looked as if the Ironwood Ridge might steal away a win at the very end, CDO’s defense made the biggest stop of the night, stuffing the Nighthawks near the goal line and forcing a fumble as time expired.

Ironwood Ridge held a 14-12 advantage over CDO at halftime after going up 14-0 on its first two possessions of the game courtesy of two touchdowns through the air from quarterback Tyler Haynie to wide receiver Andrew Cain.

Both of CDO’s touchdowns in the first half came on rushing attempts from Dawes.

After the game, Peace talked about the Dorados’ momentum following back-to-back wins against Catalina Foothills and Ironwood Ridge after starting the season 0-3.

“We’re down some guys, some big guys, and we were able to pull off two wins, and we’ve started getting people healthy and get our team a little stronger, just in numbers and in power,” Peace said. “Now we’re rolling; now we’re rolling, we got an opportunity. Before at 0-3 we were thinking, you know playoffs aren’t a possibility for us, but now we picked up two wins in a row, and the momentum’s high, and I just couldn’t be happier for this team.

“We only have about eight seniors dressed tonight, but they’ll remember this one forever, and I’m happy for them.”

CDO (2-3) plays next at home against Peoria (1-4) on Friday, Oct. 8. Ironwood Ridge (2-3) plays next at Cienega (1-3) on Friday, Oct. 15. Kickoff for both games is is at 7 p.m.

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ALLSPORTSTUCSON.com writing intern Kevin Murphy was born and raised in Tucson, and has followed Arizona Wildcats athletics since childhood.  He is currently attending Pima Community College where he writes for the Aztec Press. Next semester he will be attending the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at ASU where he will work towards a Bachelor’s degree in Mass Communication and Media Studies.

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