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Marathon season-opening game in Arizona starts Friday, finishes Saturday … without OT

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It got late very early during the season opening football game for a state champ in Arizona. In fact, it got so late that the game spanned two days.

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Arizona champ Ironwood Ridge's title defense started with a 5 hour, 32 minute marathon — USA Today

Arizona champ Ironwood Ridge's title defense started with a 5 hour, 32 minute marathon — USA Today

As reported by the Arizona Republic and a variety of other news outlets, the season-opening matchup between Tucson (Az.) Ironwood Ridge and Peoria (Az.) Liberty finished as a 42-40 Ironwood victory on Saturday, August 24. The trick was that the game started on the evening of August 23.

There were no major weather delays, though there were a two fairly brief (relatively speaking, 45 minutes and an hour) stoppages for lightning strikes. There were no other unanticipated stoppages of play.

Rather, the marathon face-off was mainly a reflection of a seesaw game that including 42 points and a massive second half rally from annual state title contender Ironwood Ridge, which lost 21 of its starters from 2012's title-winning squad. Liberty lead 17-7 at halftime before Ironwood Ridge's running game sparked the Nighthawks' rally.

You can see highlights from the season opener right here, courtesy of Tuscon CBS and Fox affiliates KOLD and KMSB.

The game finally wrapped up at 12:32 a.m. on Saturday following it's 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday, a total time of 5:32, counting the two delays. Incredibly, it could have gone even longer, too; Ironwood Ridge stopped a two-point conversion following a Liberty touchdown in the fourth quarter that would have tied the game and forced overtime.

"It’s a rebuilding year," Ironwood Ridge football coach Matt Johnson told the Republic. "But we have athletes."

Those athletes started the season with more endurance than most, that's for sure.

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