AURORA | Grandview senior quarterback Jacob Burr got a chance to meet Ryan Walters last year when he made a recruiting visit to his alma mater, so Burr could put a face with the name he was chasing in the school recordbooks.
Walters — a three-year starter for the Wolves in the early 2000s — had the program’s all-time career touchdown pass record of 36, a mark that now belongs to Burr, who threw Nos. 36 and 37 Nov. 13 in Grandview’s 41-14 win over Horizon (recap).
Also a three-year starter, Burr had 33 touchdown passes in his previous two seasons — 14 as a sophomore and 19 as a junior — so the record was in range, but it it surprisingly took him the full regular season (abbreviated to six games by the coronavirus pandemic) to get there.
“Me and coach talked about it a little bit in the offseason, but we thought it was going to come a little earlier,” Burr told the Sentinel. “I’m glad it came, though.”
Walters, son of Marc Walters — who played quarterback for the University of Colorado from 1986-89 — threw for more than 4,000 yards and 36 touchdowns in three seasons with the Wolves from 2002-2004. He committed to Colorado as well, where he was converted to a safety, and currently is the defensive coordinator for the University of Missouri.
The offense for coach John Schultz’s Grandview team had a lot of obstacles in its way this season.
On top of coaching changes, abnormalities caused by the coronavirus pandemic and the departure of standout running back Noah Schmidt to Arizona, the Wolves suffered some key season-ending injuries along the offensive line and had Nevada-commitment Trevyn Heil for just one game, which combined to slow the offense.
Junior Moosah Alsaffar (721 yards, six touchdowns) has done a strong job filling in for Schmidt, while Burr rotated under center for a few games with junior KB Broadus — which allowed Burr to take some snaps in the slot, which he enjoyed — but the Wolves never seemed to really hit their full stride offensively until the Horizon game.
Burr went three games without a touchdown pass after throwing one in an opening win over Arapahoe and a one-point loss to rival Eaglecrest in Week 2, a stretch that included a 37-0 loss to Cherry Creek in the first shutout suffered by the Wolves’ in a span of 80 games.
Burr’s best game came against Horizon, when he rushed for two touchdowns — including a 46-yard burst through the heart of the defense — and threw both touchdowns to junior Charlie Dick. The first connection came from 18 yards out and gave Grandview some breathing room in what was a 14-12 game at halftime.
On the record-setting touchdown pass in the late stages of the third quarter, Dick hauled in a short toss from Burr, broke a few tackles and made it up the sideline to the end zone for a 24-yard score.
“It was 4th-and-3, so usually we would just give it to Moose (Alsaffar) just to get a couple of yards, but we saw they were packing the box, so I just got to Charlie and let a playmaker make a play,” Burr said.
With the playoff field shrunk to just eight teams this season due to the pandemic, Grandview (3-3) missed the postseason for the first time since 2005. The Wolves will face 5-1 Columbine — another state playoff regular that finished on the outside of the playoff equation — at 7 p.m. Thursday in a Week 7 matchup of non-qualifiers.
Burr will have one more chance to potentially extend his record, put more of his versatility on tape (which he hopes firms up some interest he’s had from some college coaches) and potentially lead his team to victory against a high-quality opponent.
“We wanted to win a ring, obviously, but with circumstances, we never ever had a full team,” Burr said. “It is what it is. It was a tough year for sure, but we still made memories with our brothers that will last forever. …Playing Columbine will be like a playoff game, so that’s what we’re telling the team.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports