The Ironwood Ridge Nighthawks are on their way to the second round of the Division II state playoffs, after easily defeating Apollo Friday night.

The Nighthawks came out firing, taking a quick 21-0 lead in the first quarter. Apollo finally got on the board at the start of the second quarter, scoring from five yards out.

With the Nighthawks leading 21-7 with 11:55 left in the first half, Ironwood Ridge quarterback Tyler Williams answered right back.

The junior quarterback ran left to stretch the defense, only to run into a string of defenders. Switching directions, Williams scampered 74 yards to pay dirt up the right sideline, putting the Nighthawks up 28-7 with 10:08 left in the half.

Before halftime, Apollo scored a second touchdown when quarterback Jon Brown found Sam Martinez for a short pass. Martinez turned what appeared to be a short gain into an 83-yard touchdown.

With 1:40 left in the half, Apollo cut the Nighthawks’ lead to 28-14 just before halftime.

In the second half, Nighthawks’ kicker Brandon Sluder split the uprights to make a field goal, putting Ironwood Ridge up 31-14.

Mitch Fischer sealed the Nighthawks’ victory with a 25-yard touchdown run with time ticking down in the third, putting Ironwood Ridge up 37-14.

The Nighthawks and Apollo would score again, giving Ironwood Ridge the 43-20 victory.

With the victory, the Nighthawks will move on to face Notre Dame in the second round.

Notre Dame, the 14th seed, upset third seed Salpointe 33-14 Friday night.

Because Ironwood Ridge is the sixth seed, they will host the second round.

In other games throughout the region, Canyon Del Oro High School was knocked out in the first round, losing to Marcos De Niza 38-8.

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