TUCSON – And the Friday Football Fever Week 9 Tucson Roadrunners Player of the Week award goes to Ironwood Ridge running back Brandon Barrios.
Don’t sleep on the Nighthawks who are in their first season under new head coach James Hardy.
IRHS (5-3, 3-0) has won four straight games after a three-game losing gauntlet through a trio of Phoenix powerhouses.
Barrios has been a large piece of that recent success. The senior had 223 yards on 27 carries last Friday night in a 36-18 win over Sunnyside.
He has rushed for 1,202 yards this season, 875 of which have come over the Nighthawks four-game winning streak which has included 13 touchdowns.
Barrios ran for a career-high 313 yards against Nogales on October 4. He has six 100-yard plus rushing games on the season. Not bad for a kid who played mostly a reserve role as a junior in 2018.
He credits a lot of success to his father Lance, a product of the U.S. Marine Corps, who works with the Nighthawks as a strength and assistant coach.
Hardy took over the program this year from Matt Johnson, after Johnson resigned to take the head coaching job at Mountain View.
Johnson coached the Nighthawks to 10 of their 16 straight berths in the post-season. Barring a complete collapse, that streak will stretch to 17 years.
Ironwood Ridge is ranked 11th in Conference 5A but could get a first round home game if the top three 5A teams (Centennial, Horizon and Higley) all make the Open Division playoff.
The Nighthawks three loses came to #1 Centennial, #5 Campo Verde and #6 Millennium who are a combined 20-4 on the season.
IRHS is currently tied with Cienega for first place in the 5A Southern Region. They’ll end their regular season against the Bobcats after travelling to face Buena this Friday night.
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