Senior Max Kibbee (25), junior Nkongolo Wa-Kalonji (58) and the Grandview defense has shut out two of its last three opponents going into a Class 5A state football quarterfinal playoff contest against Pine Creek on Nov. 19, 2022, at Legacy Stadium. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Sentinel Colorado)

AURORA | A capsule preview of the 2022 Class 5A state football quarterfinal playoff contest between Pine Creek and Grandview scheduled for Nov. 19, 2022:

Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at [email protected]: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports


No. 5 Pine Creek (9-2) vs. No. 4 Grandview (9-2)

Nov. 19, 1 p.m. at Legacy Stadium

BREAKDOWN: Pine Creek and Grandview meet for the first time ever in the postseason and may meet on the football field for the first time. …Pine Creek has moved up to Class 5A this season from 4A, where it made the semifinals last season before losing to eventual state champion Chatfield. The Eagles have made it to the postseason in 10 straight seasons and were state 4A champions in 2013, 2014, 2016 and 2019, while they also made the state title game in 2017 and 2011. …Grandview is in the quarterfinal round for the 13th time since 2007 and it has made it to the semifinals in eight of those trips, including three of the past four seasons, although it remains looking for its first state championship game appearance since 2007 when it won its first and only title.

PINE CREEK: Coach Todd Miller’s Eagles posted an 8-2 record in the regular season on a slate that included five teams that made the Class 5A state playoffs (No. 2 Valor Christian, No. 7 Regis Jesuit, No. 15 Legend, No. 16 Fountain-Fort Carson and No. 23 Mullen) and finished 3-2 in those contests. Pine Creek came out of a first round bye with a second round matchup against No. 12 Legacy and came away with a 30-24 victory. The Eagles finished with 242 yards rushing and got 84 yards and a touchdown from sophomore RB Jonathan Coar, while sophomore QB Cameron Cooper threw for 130 yards and connected with senior TE Jerry Lydiatt and junior WR/Ath Kai Goetze on scoring passes. Coar also made three field goals in the second half for the deciding points. With their fourth straight game of 30 or more points, Pine Creek now averages 30.7 points per game on the season. The Eagles do most of their damage with a physical ground game that has seen four players rush for 180 yards or more, with the group led by the 1,184 yards of junior RB Mason Miller, while Coar has a team-high 12 rushing touchdowns (one more than Miller) for the team lead. In the passing game, Cooper has thrown for 1,366 yards and 12 touchdowns against five interceptions, using senior WR/Ath Jake Graver as his main target as he has 469 yards receiving and is tied with Lydiatt for the team lead with three touchdown catches. …Defensively, Pine Creek has been stingy and allowed an average of just 14.7 points per game after its effort in the second round contest. The Eagles intercepted Legacy star quarterback Kullen Lerma three times and has a whopping 22 interceptions on the season with the major sources coming from junior DB Ramon Pacheco (seven), junior Ath Justis Nicholson (6) and Miller with four. Senior LB Brett Alvey is just shy of 100 tackles on the season (plus shares the team lead in sacks with sophomore I Landry at 3.0) as the far away leader in tackles, while senior S Logan Matthews and junior S Leyton Robinson both have 50-plus. …On special teams, Coar has yet to miss a PAT kick and has also made a total of six field goals.

GRANDVIEW: Coach Tom Doherty’s team reloaded after the graduation of a large group of seniors from a team that made last season’s Class 5A semifinals and went 8-2 during the regular season against a schedule that includes six teams that made the 5A postseason (No. 1 Cherry Creek, No. 3 Ralston Valley, No. 8 Arapahoe, No. 10 Fossil Ridge, No. 17 Eaglecrest and No. 22 Cherokee Trail), which was highlighted by a win over Cherry Creek to cap the regular season. The Wolves got a much-needed first round bye and returned to the field to play No. 20 Rocky Mountain in the second round, which they won 20-0. Beset by injuries to more than half the offensive starters — including junior QB Liam Szarka — Grandview’s fast offensive start slowed, but the defense rose to the occasion to pitch a shutout and score defensively on senior DB Luke Trinrud’s 95-yard interception return in the fourth quarter. Before he exited, Szarka threw touchdown passes to sophomore WR Xay Neto and senior WR Davion Henderson on the first two possessions of the game. The Wolves won despite scoring their fewest points of the entire season, which leaves its scoring average at 32.7 points per game. For the season, Szarka has 1,839 yards passing and 18 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, while he also has accounted for 478 yards rushing and 12 scores. Senior QB Cole Swanson came on in relief of Szarka against Rocky Mountain and finished threw for 29 yards and was intercepted once.  Grandview loves to run the football and it often goes to sophomore RB Donavon Vernon (who has 1,088 yards rushing and 14 touchdowns), while senior RB Chase Dahir had a team-high 125 yards rushing in the playoff game and has 521 yards and four scores on the season. Among passcatchers, Henderson has the team lead in receiving yards with 552, while he shares the touchdown catch lead with 6-foot-7 senior TE Simon Kibbee (507 yards receiving) and Neto (321 yards receiving) as all three have pulled in a handful of scoring catches. …Defensively, Grandview posted its second shutout in the past three games and now allows opponents 18.1 points per game for the entire season. Senior LB Max Kibbee and junior LB Preston Emken each have reached the 100-tackle milestone, while playmaking senior S Gibby Leafgreen is in range of the mark as well. Senior DE Brody Robinson leads the team with four sacks, while four others have two or more. Leafgreen and junior Oba Zuraiqi share the team lead with two interceptions apiece. …On special teams, Neto (who has a kickoff return score), Leafgreen and sophomore WR Kyler Vaughn have all been effective at points in the season in the return game, while senior PK Kyle Chavez has made 90 percent of his PATs and connected on a pair of field goals with a long of 32 yards.

WINNER GETS: The Pine Creek-Grandview winner advances to the state semifinals where it will face the winner of the quarterfinal between No. 9 ThunderRidge (10-1) and No. 1 Cherry Creek (9-2).

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