AURORA | The 2017 Grandview football team at a glance:
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
Coach: John Schultz
Last year: 10-2 overall (5-0 in Mount Massive League), lost to Valor Christian in quarterfinals of Class 5A state playoffs
2017 season outlook: Grandview looks to continue its run as one of the state’s annually elite programs under coach John Schultz, by far Aurora’s longest-tenured head coach who has led his team to at least one Class 5A state playoff win in 12 consecutive seasons. The Mount Massive League champion Wolves had a record-setting offense last season (40.3 points per game) with All-State and league MVP Hayden Blubaugh in the backfield, but with Blubaugh graduated along with most of the other offensive starters, 2017 shapes up as a defensive-oriented season, at least at the outset. Last season’s Grandview defense held five teams to single digits and another to 10 points and returns seven All-Mount Massive League defenders from that group in first teamers Aaron Harris, Thomas Jenkins, Jordan Knapke, Luke LaFlam and Simote Patterson-Simote, along with second teamers Julius Carter Jr. and Kevin Clark, with chemistry that should amplify the effectiveness of the unit’s aggressive, swarming style. Jenkins was last season’s leading tackler and Carter tied for the team lead in interceptions for a group that forced 25 turnovers. Blubaugh and quarterback Gunnar Lamphere alone accounted for 2,600 all-purpose yards and 49 touchdowns last season which will be very hard to replicate, Grandview’s offense has an exceptional weapon in senior wide receiver Gunner Gentry, an all-league first team pick in 2016. Gentry — whose older brother, Tanner, is impressing in NFL training camp with the Chicago Bears — caught 46 passes for 823 yards and 10 touchdowns last season in an offense that ran the ball nearly three-fourths of the time and could even see an uptick in those numbers with an emphasis on getting him the football. Harris, Carter and juniors Jordan Billingsley and Dayne Prim will be other weapons on a unit that will also have a bit of a different look on the front line with the graduation of three all-league linemen.
Schedule breakdown: The Wolves have the same schedule as last season with one exception, as a Sept. 8 non-league game against Legacy replaces their trip to California to play Murrieta Valley last season (a game they won 50-49). With the addition of Legacy, Grandview has five teams that played in last season’s Class 5A state playoffs (Chaparral, Legacy, Eaglecrest, Cherry Creek, Cherokee Trail) and face them in the first five of the season, including the Raptors (Sept. 15), Bruins (Sept. 22) and Cougars (Sept. 28) consecutively. The Wolves close against five non-playoff teams, though Doherty won eight games last season.
2017 GRANDVIEW SCHEDULE
Home games bold and uppercased (home games played at Legacy Stadium): Thursday, Aug. 31 — vs. Chaparral at EchoPark Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 8 — vs. Legacy at North Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 15 — EAGLECREST, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 22 — at Cherry Creek, 7:30 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 28 — CHEROKEE TRAIL, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 6 — BOULDER, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 12 — SMOKY HILL, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Oct. 12 — vs. Doherty at Garry Berry Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 27 — ARAPAHOE, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Nov. 3 — vs. Overland at Stutler Bowl, 7 p.m.