AURORA | The last bit of adversity the Grandview football team faced in 2017 turned out to be the only thing it couldn’t overcome.
Coach John Schultz’s Wolves lost four of its top players — two on both sides of the ball — to injury and suffered through a rare two-game losing streak earlier in the year, only to work their way into Class 5A’s semifinals for the sixth time in program history.
Grandview even overcame a 10-point deficit on the road in the quarterfinals to beat perennial state powerhouse Valor Christian, but Pomona’s big-play penchant eventually proved to be too much.
The Panthers scored three touchdowns of more than 46 yards in the first half and eventually ran away from the Wolves 42-20 Nov. 25 at Legacy Stadium.
“From losing our two best offensive linemen and two best defensive players to losing Gunner Gentry for six weeks, there was a lot to overcome week after week after week for this team,” Schultz said. “I couldn’t be prouder of their effort all year long.
“Pomona was the much better team tonight.”
Indeed, the Panthers won their eighth straight game and earned their third consecutive trip to the 5A state championship game. They won’t face Valor Christian there for the first time — second-seeded Eaglecrest (13-0) is there instead — thanks to Grandview.
All things considered, the Wolves’ 10-3 campaign — which included a second straight Mount Massive League championship plus the historic victory over Valor Christian — proved quite satisfying.
“I’m so proud of our team, we battled all year and overcame so much stuff,” senior safety Kevin Clark said. “To be in the final four when nobody expected us to get through the final eight was incredible. I had a really fun season.”
Senior linebacker Luke La Flam hoped the Wolves could continue their run against Pomona, but they weren’t able to keep up with a team that racked up 500 yards of total offense on big play after big play.
The Panthers scored touchdowns of 73, 98 and 46 yards in the opening half and never looked back.
La Flam focused on the win over Valor Christian as something he’ll always remember.
“Last week was for sure the best football moment I’ve ever had in my life,” said La Flam, who has been playing since he was 6. “It was awesome, so I have that from this season. I’m proud of this team.”
Junior Jordan Billingsley rushed for 109 yards and all three of Grandview’s touchdowns against Pomona. The Wolves finally stemmed the tide of mometum with a late first half touchdown drive, when senior quarterback Kyle Smith rushed for 46 yards to put them in position for a short Billingsley TD run.
Two touchdowns by Pomona star running back Max Borghi pretty much put the game away, while Billingsley got into the end zone two more times from 6 and 8 yards in the final quarter plus.
Grandview moves on without a senior class that has been one of the most successful ever for the program in terms fo wins.
“This senior class was pretty special,” Schultz said. “They went undefeated as freshmen and on JV and now two 10-win seasons in a row, that’s 40 wins from a class of seniors that’s going to be missed.”
Billingsley picked up a lot from the senior group that he intends to bring to the team next season.
“Watching these seniors lead through the summer, regular season and playoffs, I got a good idea of how to do the job,” Billingsley said. “I appreciated that and I’m going to miss them.”
Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or email@example.com. Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel
(4) POMONA 42, (8) GRANDVIEW 20
Score by quarters:
Pomona 14 7 14 7 — 42
Grandview 0 7 7 6 — 20
Pomona — David Ross 73 yard pass from Ryan Marquez (McGuire Mallory kick), 11:03
Pomona — Colton Muller 98 yard pass from Marquez (Mallory kick), 2:30
Pomona — Max Borghi 46 yard run (Mallory kick), 11:25
Grandview — Jordan Billingsley 2 yard run (Cobi Wood kick), 3:02
Pomona — Borghi 19 yard run (Mallory kick), 9:05
Pomona — Borghi 56 yard run (Mallory kick), 4:21
Grandview — Billingsley 6 yard run (Wood kick), 7.2
Pomona — Riley Welsch 25 yard interception return (Mallory kick), 3:39
Grandview — Billingsley 8 yard run (pass failed), 1:00
Pomona: Max Borghi 18-211, Ryan Marquez 11-15, Theorius Robison 5-10
Grandview: Jordan Billingsley 23-109, Kyle Smith 10-49, Aaron Harris 5-5, Andrew Turner 1-(minus 1)
Pomona: Marquez 9-15, 275 yards, 2 touchdowns
Grandview: Smith 18-34, 223 yards, 1 interception
Pomona: Colton Muller 2-121, David Ross 2-79, Billy Pospisil 3-68, Riley Govan 1-8, Borghi 1-(minus 1)
Grandview: Julius Carter Jr. 8-81, Gunner Gentry 5-72, Dayne Prim 2-40, Turner 2-26, Billingsley 1-4