AURORA | Grandview’s lone turnover of the season came at the worst of moments.
The Class 5A 10th-ranked Wolves trailed No. 8 ThunderRidge by seven points midway through the fourth quarter of Thursday night’s non-league contest at Legacy Stadium and had the ball first-and-goal at the Grizzlies’ 1-yard line.
Senior quarterback Reece Weber — looking to score his third rushing touchdown of the game — lost the ball on the exchange with the center, however, and ThunderRidge recovered. A 98-yard march took six crucial minutes off the clock and led to Jake Hand’s insurance touchdown with two minutes left as the Grizzlies secured a 34-20 victory.
“That was a great football game,” said Grandview coach John Schultz, whose team dropped to 1-2 overall. “Our first turnover of the year came at the wrong time. It was going to be a fun end to the game, but it didn’t happen.”
Tanner Gentry rushed for a 35-yard touchdown in the first quarter and Weber scored on runs of 24 and 1 yard — and connected with Dimitri Shewl on a 2-point conversion that tied the scored at 20-20 in the third quarter — as Grandview lost its second straight contest to a Continental Conference team following a season-opening win at Vista, Calif.
The Wolves lost to Chaparral by a 35-14 count on Sept. 6.
Coming off a big win over Ralston Valley, ThunderRidge (2-1) was impressive, especially with lengthy drives and big plays on offense.
Grandview led 12-7 after the opening touchdown by Gentry — who as held to just 15 yards receiving on two catches — and Weber’s 24-yard burst around the left edge, but it was the Hand show from there.
Quarterback Brody Westmoreland executed a perfect run fake and found Hand wide open down the left sideline for a 63-yard touchdown and the running back added a 2-yard TD plunge on ThunderRidge’s next series to give the Grizzlies a 20-12 edge at halftime.
Grandview tied the score at 20-20 late in the third when Hayden Porter recovered a Westmoreland fumble and Weber bulled into the end zone from one yard out — a play after he had to come out after his helmet was knocked off — and hit Shewl with the conversion pass.
ThunderRidge responded with a 14-play drive that covered 80 yards in 5:14 and was aided by a pass interference call and ended in Hand’s 9-yard touchdown run.
Weber led the Wolves back quickly, however, galloping 44 yards up the sideline to put Grandview in position to make it 27-all. He converted a long fourth down with a 29-yard pass to Daijhwan Williams at the 1-yard line, but never got the snap cleanly on the next play and ThunderRidge’s John Wood came up with the football.
Pinned deep, an encorachment penalty on the Wolves defense gave the Grizzlies five yards of breathing room and they went the next 93 on the hard running of Hand and Steve Ray. Grandview forced ThunderRidge in a third-and-11 situation at the 32-yard line, but couldn’t bring down Hand as he steamrolled through the line.
Grandview’s schedule gets no easier, as it pays a visit to Mullen at 7 p.m. Sept. 21. The Wolves snapped the Mustangs’ 34-game winning streak last season.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at [email protected] or 303-750-7555
(8) THUNDERRIDGE 34, (10) GRANDVIEW 20
Score by quarters:
ThunderRidge 0 20 0 14 — 34
Grandview 6 6 8 0 — 20
Grandview — Tanner Gentry 35 yard run (kick failed), 5:41
ThunderRidge — Mark Hopper 23 yard pass from Brody Westmoreland (Hopper kick), 8:04
Grandview — Reece Weber 24 yard run (run failed), 5:48
ThunderRidge — Jake Hand 63 yard pass from Westmoreland (pass failed), 5:04
ThunderRidge — Hand 2 yard run (Hopper kick), 59.5
Grandview — Weber 1 yard run (Dimitri Shewl pass from Weber), 2:42
ThunderRidge — Hand 9 yard run (Hopper kick), 9:28
ThunderRidge — Hand 32 yard run (Hopper kick), 1:59