Football: Grandview rises again late in season before falling to ThunderRidge in 5A quarterfinals

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Every football season is a long journey and Grandview’s 2012 trip had its shares of ups and downs.

Though they ended up on the short end of a 21-17 decision against top-seeded ThunderRidge Nov. 16 in a Class 5A state football quarterfinal contest at Shea Stadium, coach John Schultz’s Wolves  came a long way over 12 weeks.

“Everyone who has watched us from the beginning of the season to the end knows how much we’ve improved; we weren’t a very good football team for the first two, three, four weeks of the season,” said Schultz, whose team finished 8-4 and posted eight wins or more for the seventh time in eight seasons.

“These guys got better and they had that feeling that they could keep going,” he added. “You always want to feel like you can compete for a state championship and these guys did a great job of giving us that feeling again this year.”

Indeed, Grandview was a play or two away from making it to the semifinals for the third straight season, something that might not have seemed possible in the opening few weeks of the campaign.

The Wolves opened the season 1-2 after back-to-back losses to Chaparral and ThunderRidge, but started to put it together with a  34-30 win at Mullen on Sept. 21.

Seven wins in the next eight weeks followed, with the only loss coming to rival Cherokee Trail, and Grandview came into the ThunderRidge game undaunted.

The Wolves got off to exactly the kind of start they wanted, going up 10-0 in the first quarter on a Tanner Hubbard 37-yard field goal and an interception return for a touchdown by Tanner Gentry.

“We had a whole lot of momentum at the start, but ThunderRidge outworked us the rest of the way,” Gentry said. “They deserved it.”

ThunderRidge’s defense — which had allowed 90 points in two previous playoff games — kept Grandview from adding to the lead, however, and the Grizzlies took a 14-10 lead into halftime.

Senior quarterback Reece Weber’s 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Aaron Montgomery gave Grandview the lead back midway through the third quarter, but ThunderRidge launched a 15-play, 66-yard drive to go up 21-17 with 3:11 left.

Two last gasp drives couldn’t get Grandview in the end zone, but the loss couldn’t erase the results of the Wolves’ growth.

“We did everything we could; we played great,” junior linebacker Kolton Johnson said. “The progress we made from the beginning of the season to now was amazing. We played our best football, the scoreboard just didn’t reflect that.”

Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555