Undefeated Ironwood Ridge jumped out to a 13-0 lead over Mountain View but the Mountain Lions rallied to a one-point lead and had their sights set on a second upset of the season.
But the visiting Nighthawks rattled off 29 unanswered points and shut out the Mountain Lions in the second half to stay perfect with a 42-14 win.
Ironwood Ridge, the No. 1 team in the Division II seedings, also improved to 6-0 against its rival down the road.
Now it will play Flowing Wells and Catalina Foothills, which both have losing records, before traveling to Salpointe Catholic to wrap up the regular season.
The Nighthawks (7-0) trailed 14-13 with 4:50 left in the first half. Mountain View had just missed a 52-yard field goal attempt and I-Ridge got the ball on its 20.
Fourteen plays later, the Nighthawks regained the lead.
The 80-yard drive included a fourth-down conversion by running back Anthony Braunreiter and ended when he plunged into the end zone on a 1-yard run to put Ironwood Ridge up 19-14 just 19 seconds before halftime.
Senior quarterback Tyler Williams ran it up the middle for the two-point conversion to give the Nighthawks a seven-point lead at the break.
"It was a big-drive answer to what they were doing and it was kind of what we expected," I-Ridge coach Matt Johnson said. "We had told our kids all week that the Mountain View kids were good football players."
"We knew it was going to be a challenge."
The Nighthawks punted away the opening possession of the third quarter and Mountain View (4-3) immediately got deep into Ironwood Ridge territory after Richie Estrada broke loose for a 32-yard run.
Six plays later, the Nighthawks stopped the Mountain Lions on third-and-goal at the 8 to set up another Cody Rochon field goal attempt.
But Devon Olivarez blew through the line, blocked the kick and returned it 22 yards. The senior also recovered a blocked punt in the end zone four plays into the game.
Three plays later after the blocked field goal attempt, Olivarez sprinted up the right side for a 36-yard score to put the Nighthawks up 28-14 and give his team a boost.
"That field goal block really changed the momentum," Olivarez said. "After that, the whole team was fired up."
First-year Mountain Lions coach Clarence McRae said the block was a deflating blow to his team.
"That was a big swing," McRae said. "When you go down and have a successful drive and come away with nothing, you're deflated as an offense and you get deflated as a team."
After Mountain View went three and out, Braunreiter, who ran for 196 yards on 16 carries, galloped for a 28-yard run on the first play. Then former Mountain Lion Cris Thorson scored on a 47-yard run on a sweep to the right side.
"I wasn't trying to do anything special," Thorson said. "We knew we just needed to play our game."
Thorson's long run gave his team a 21-point lead and the Nighthawks stopped the Mountain Lions on fourth down in their next two possessions before Thorson scored on a 2-yard run with 2:01 left in the game to make it 42-14. He admitted it was nice to score on his old field.
"I spent so much time on this field that it's definitely nice getting into the end zone," Thorson said.
Ironwood Ridge's first score of the night came when Scott Simmons blocked a punt that Olivarez recovered in the end zone to put I-Ridge up 7-0. Then, Jake Vartanian scored on a 9-yard run after Mountain View fumbled away its second possession.
But then the Mountain Lions, who beat Cienega on the road earlier this season, scored 14 straight points and took the lead when Estrada scored on a 58-yard run early in the second quarter. Estrada finished with 164 yards on 20 carries.
On StarNet: See more photos from Friday's Ironwood Ridge-Mountain View and Catalina Foothills-Canyon del Oro football games at azstarnet.com/gallery