If he slept at all last night, Ironwood head coach Larry Allen must have had nightmares involving North Canyon FB/LB Anthony Llanos. The senior had four TDs and blocked two extra points including one to secure the overtime victory as the Rattlers won to set up their first state title appearance.
In a 1st quarter that saw two turnovers from North Canyon and one from Ironwood the only scoring took place when Rattler QB Tim Boling hit Anthony Llanos for a forty-four yard TD score. Early in the 2nd quarter, Llanos scored again, this time on a trap where he burst nine yards for a score. 14-0 North Canyon. Ironwood would counter as 6'2 junior WR Eric Hagg out jumped Rattler DB Mekyell Harrell for a forty-one yard TD on a pass from QB Luke Bakemeier. After some confusion on back to back onside kick efforts from Ironwood, North Canyon received the ball. North Canyon QB Tim Boling hit Mekyell Harrell for a forty-five yard gain setting up Llanos' third score of the half, which came on a five yard run. The PAT was no good 20 to 7 North Canyon up. After a North Canyon fumble, Ironwood threatened but the Rattlers held keeping the score 20 to 7 to end the half.
The 2nd half started much as the 1st half ended, a long play by Harrell set up a twenty-five yard TD run by Llanos. North Canyon converted for two to make the score a comfortable 28-7. The comfort soon ended as Ironwood DB Danny Cruz stripped Harrell of the ball. After a pass to Tyrell Grant-Johnson, Cruz finished what he started with a twelve yard TD run. PAT good 28 to 14 North Canyon up. The fourth quarter again saw Bakemeier hit Johnson this time for a twenty-six yard TD. Llanos blocked the PAT making the score 28 to 20. Bakemeier hit the long pass again, this time to Hagg for a forty-three yard score. Cruz added the two point conversion making the score 28 to 28. This is how it would stay the remainder of regulation.
In OT Harrell would score on the first play from scrimmage the PAT was good. 35 to 28 North Canyon. Ironwood would counter hitting Hagg on the fade for the score. A simple PAT and we line it up again to find a winner. In a hurry to get to Tempe, Llanos burst through the line and blocked the PAT, securing the Rattler win and a trip to the state championship to face Centennial. Final North Canyon 35 Ironwood 34.
Bottom Line: North Canyon is one of the most talented teams in the state and coach Brian Cole should be commended for getting his squad to the state championship. If they want to bring home the title they will need to take care of the ball better as they face a talented Centennial team. Congrats to Ironwood for a scrappy season. When star Skyler Hagg went down earlier this season they could have folded the tent. They chose not to and came one point away from a title appearance.
Game Balls: Duh. Anthony Llanos four TDs and two blocked PATs, including the one to seal the game. For Ironwood Luke Bakemeier. The senior QB did not want to go home and made big throws to the very end. Keep an eye out for Eric Hagg at a legit 6'2 the receiver may be one of the top returning wideouts in the state next year.