Nov. 16, 7 p.m., Shea Stadium (Highlands Ranch)
BREAKDOWN: The Wolves and Grizzlies meet again eight weeks after their first go-round, a 34-20 ThunderRidge victory on Sept. 13 at Legacy Stadium, which marked the first time the teams had met in the past decade. …GRANDVIEW: Coach John Schultz’s team continues to excel once it hits the postseason, as Grandview has laid waste to No. 24 Fairview (40-6) and No. 8 Fountain-Fort Carson (48-14) in the first two rounds. The Wolves are one win away from returning to the 5A semifinals, which they reached last season before losing to eventual state champion Columbine. …Senior quarterback Reece Weber has run wild on Grandview’s two playoff games, piling up 311 yards rushing and three touchdowns after posting just 362 and five touchdowns in the previous nine games. Weber hasn’t had to throw much in those games, as he’s attempted just 17 passes, completing 10 of them for 133 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Weber rushed for 118 yards and two touchdowns in the first meeting with ThunderRidge, but lost a fumble on the Grizzlies’ 1 yard-line as the Wolves attempted to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter. … Senior running back Isaiah Jackson has rushed for 218 yards and a pair of scores in the Wolves’ two playoff games, while senior Cassius Davis has found the end zone three times in addition to his 149 yards. The duo — which has a combined 1,425 yards on the season (725 for Jackson, 700 for Davis) was limited to just 61 yards on 16 carries in the first game against ThunderRidge. …With the ground game hitting on all cylinders, star wide receiver Tanner Gentry has caught just six passes for 72 yards in the playoffs after back-to-back big games in the regular season against Cherry Creek (145 yards, 2 TDs) and Smoky Hill (83 yards). He has 980 yards receiving and nine touchdowns on the season and has scored at least one time in all but three of Grandview’s games. Gentry intercepted two passes in the playoff opener against Fairview and has five on the year. …Junior linebacker Hayden Porter has been a defensive force with a team-high 5.5 sacks and four fumble recoveries, while junior Sean Kopel leads the team in tackles with 59. …THUNDERRIDGE: The Grizzlies outlasted No. 17 Cherry Creek 57-56 in double overtime in the second round in a game that many consider the best of the season thus far. A two-point conversion catch by Jesse Kreiger provided the difference in the scoring. It was a huge game for the ThunderRidge offense, as quarterback Brody Westmoreland rushed for four touchdowns and Steve Ray and Jake Hand had two apiece. Hand rushed for three touchdowns, including two in the fourth quarter, in the first meeting with Grandview, while Westmoreland threw for a pair of scores. Ray has 1,466 yards rushing and 20 touchdowns on the season, while Hand has 971 yards and 12 TDs, the same number as Westmoreland, who has also thrown for 13. …The ThunderRidge defense has surrendered 90 points in two postseason games — as opposed to 20 given up by Grandview — and has allowed an average of more than 26 points per contest on the season. Linebacker Sam Pauling leads the Grizzlies with 88 tackles, while defensive end John Adam has nine of the team’s 28 sacks. …WINNER: The winner moves on to the semifinals to face either No. 4 Valor Christian or No. 5 Arapahoe, which play at 7 p.m. Nov. 16 at Valor Christian. If Grandview wins, it would have a home game with a win by Valor Christian, but would be on the road with an Arapahoe win. If ThunderRidge wins, it would be at home if Valor Christian wins and on the road if Arapahoe wins.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555