AURORA | The definition of a rivalry in sports requires both sides to have a chance to win at any given time. That has come to define Eaglecrest vs. Grandview football.
Thursday night’s matchup came in Game No. 2 of the regular season — courtesy of the looming presence of COVID-19, which shortened the season to six games — and the scoreboard at Legacy Stadium noted the Raptors with a 43-42 win over the Wolves.
It was yet another game on the razor’s edge between the teams, comprised of players and coaches that have come to know each other incredibly well over the years because of their proximity. It makes for unpredictably and the chance for every matchup to come down to the final play, as it did this time when Grandview’s field goal attempt went wide.
“Every year it’s like this with them, they are a good team,” said Eaglecrest senior Ty Robinson, who has put his stamp on the rivalry in recent years.
“Every singles year it’s something else, it’s crazy how it works. But I’m glad we got the dub this time. It was worth it.”
Since 2012, the teams have met 11 times — twice in the Class 5A state playoffs, including last season’s second round — and nine of those contests have been decided by a touchdown or less. Thursday’s result marked the third time in that span (during which Grandview enjoys a 6-5 edge) the victory has won by a single point.
New heroes emerge each time the teams play.
This time, it was Eaglecrest senior running back JP Luketu, who scored three touchdowns and got enough of a hole from his hard-working offensive line to help him crash through contact with several defenders on a go-ahead two-point conversion run.
Senior quarterback Khalil Howard also had a major hand in the result as he threw two touchdown passes and broke off a 74-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter that was crucial to his team’s ability to hang in the game.
For Grandview, junior Kahden Rullo got his team back into the game with two huge plays. His interception return touchdown helped the Wolves get out of an early 14-point hole and he gave his team a halftime lead when he ripped a ball out of the arms of Boise State-bound Seyi Oladipo on a kickoff return and scored.
Junior running back Moosah Alsaffar — taking over the main role in the backfield after Noah Schmidt moved to Arizona over the summer — racked up 150 yards and two scores, including one to put his team ahead with just over three minutes left.
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports