5A-II: Centennial vs. Ironwood Ridge - East Valley Tribune: VarsityXtra

5A-II: Centennial vs. Ironwood Ridge

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Posted: Thursday, December 2, 2010 5:23 pm | Updated: 3:43 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

5A-II state semifinal

No. 3 Centennial vs. No. 7 Ironwood Ridge

When: 7 p.m. Friday

Where: Sandra Day O'Connor High School (25250 N. 35th Ave,. Phoenix)

Records: Centennial 11-1; Ironwood Ridge 9-3

Key matchup: Ironwood Ridge quarterback Tyler D'Amore has thrown for 2,601 yards and completed 70 percent of his passes this season. In Centennial's lone loss this year to Red Mountain, the passing defense was the biggest culprit. If Ironwood Ridge can have success through the air, an upset is possible.

Ket stat: 3. While Chaparral has practically been handed the 5A-II title, the Coyotes still have won three of the last four state titles. No one has shown the capacity to stick remotely close to Chaparral this season, but Centennial will be its biggest test if the Coyotes can advance.

Outlook: Ironwood Ridge has a balanced offense, which is needed against a fast Centennial defense. The Nighthawks will need to throw the ball effectively to be competitive, but it is certainly possible. The Coyotes have plenty of elite skill players, highlighted by Vegas Johnson, Jebron Harrington and Jalen Ortiz, but the offensive and defensive lines aren't as dominant as in the past. Ironwood Ridge may have three losses, but they came to traditional Tucson powers Canyon del Oro, Cienega and Salpointe. Centennial will need to play well defensively to avoid the upset.

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