AURORA | A capsule preview of the 2022 Class 5A state football second round playoff contest between Rocky Mountain and Grandview scheduled for Nov. 11, 2022:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected]: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
2022 CLASS 5A 2ND ROUND STATE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF GAME
No. 20 Rocky Mountain (6-5) vs. No. 4 Grandview (8-2)
Nov. 11, 7 p.m. at Legacy Stadium
BREAKDOWN: Rocky Mountain and Grandview meet for the first time on the football season in the playoffs and may be playing for the first time ever. …Rocky Mountain is back in the postseason for the first time since 2019 and picked up its first playoff win since 2014 in the opening round when it defeated No. 13 Mountain Vista 20-13. …Grandview, meanwhile, missed out on the playoffs only once in the past 18 seasons, which was the 2020 season when the field was just eight teams due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Wolves made it to last season’s semifinals and have won at least one game in nine of their last 10 postseason appearances.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN: The Lobos dropped their regular season final against Fairview, but opened the playoffs with an upset win over Mountain Vista. During the regular season, coach Mark Brook’s team played six teams that qualified for the 5A playoffs (No. 10 Fossil Ridge, No. 12 Legacy, No. 14 Fairview, No. 17 Eaglecrest, No. 18 Poudre and No. 22 Cherokee Trail) and finished 0-6 in those contests. Rocky Mountain scored just three more points than it allowed on the season as it averaged 18.2 points per contest (it was shutout once and scored in single digits four times), while it allowed 17.9 points per game and finished with two defensive shutouts and held four opponents in single digits. …Offensively, senior QB Gage Brook returned for the playoffs after missing all but two games in the regular season, while freshman QB Riley Honick played in his stead. The two combined to throw two touchdown passes against six interceptions in the regular season. The Lobos have been effective running the ball with junior RB Abraham Chatila, who has run for 1,486 yards and 12 touchdowns, while sophomore RB Cody Arnett has 271 yards rushing and four touchdowns, including two in the playoff victory. Only one Rocky Mountain passcatcher has more than 100 yards receiving and that is senior WR Azaiah Collins with 110 yards. …Defensively, senior LB Jorden Delap paces the Lobos in tackles with 70, senior DE/DT Will Pryor has racked up a team-high eight sacks and six different players have an interception. …On special teams, junior PK Danny Krieger has made half of his four field goal attempts with a long of 24 yards and is nearly perfect on his 16 PAT attempts.
GRANDVIEW: The Wolves come into the postseason on a three-game winning streak, which includes a big 24-21 win over top-seeded Cherry Creek in the regular season finale, which earned coach Tom Doherty’s team a share of first place in Class 5A League 4. During the regular season, Grandview played six teams that qualified for the 5A playoffs (No. 1 Cherry Creek, No. 3 Ralston Valley, No. 8 Arapahoe, No. 10 Fossil Ridge, No. 17 Eaglecrest and No. 22 Cherokee Trail) and went 4-2 in those games with wins over Cherry Creek, Fossil Ridge, Eaglecrest and Cherokee Trail. The Wolves scored 34 points per game and scored at least 21 points in all 10 of its contests, while it allowed 19.9 per contest with one shutout out and two opponents held in single digits. …Offensively, junior QB Liam Szarka has been a dual threat as he has accounted for more than 2,200 yards of total offense (1,753 yards passing with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions plus 481 yards rushing and 12 scores). Grandview’s running game — keyed by a massive offensive line that includes a Washington commit in senior OL Zach Henning — is spearheaded by sophomore RB Donavon Vernon, who has picked up 1,038 yards on the ground with 14 touchdowns, while senior RB Chase Dahir is a hard-running compliment who has gained 395 yards and reached the end zone four times. The Wolves feature a wide variety of passcatchers, but senior TE Simon Kibbee — who stands 6-foot-8 — is a frequent target and has 507 yards receiving plus five touchdowns, while reliable senior WR Davion Henderson is right behind him with 492 yards receiving and four touchdowns, the same number of scoring grabs as speedy sophomore WR Xay Neto. Sophomore WR Braden Powers and WR Kyler Vaughn also have passed triple figures in receiving yards. …Defensively, seniors LBs Preston Emken and Max Kibbee have each passed the century mark in tackles with 102 and 100, respectively, while playmaking senior S Gibby Leafgreen is not far back with 88. Five Grandview plays have multiple sacks with Emken, senior LB/DE Mulumba Wa-Kalonji and senior DT Caeleb Renner the most accomplished at getting to the passer with three apiece. Leafgreen and junior Oba Zuraiqi have been credited with two interceptions apiece, while Leafgreen is in double digits in pass breakups. …On special teams, Neto has a kick return touchdown to his credit, while junior PK Kyle Chavez has made two of his three field goal attempts, including a key one in the win over Cherry Creek.
WINNER GETS: The Rocky Mountain-Grandview winner advances in Quadrant 2 to the quarterfinals, where it will play the winner of the second round game between No. 12 Legacy (9-2) and No. 5 Pine Creek (8-2).