AURORA | A capsule look at the 2019 Class 5A state football second round playoff matchup between No. 10 Eaglecrest and No. 7 Grandview:
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Colorado Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected]: @aurorasports. IG: Sentinel Prep Sports
NO. 10 EAGLECREST (8-3) VS. NO. 7 GRANDVIEW (8-2)
7 p.m., Nov. 15 at Legacy Stadium
BREAKDOWN: Grandview and Eaglecrest will meet in the state playoffs for the second time and for the second consecutive season after they had been to the playoffs for 12 seasons at the same time and hadn’t run into each other. As members of the same league for most of the recent past (save 2016 and 2017 when they were in separate conferences), the Wolves and Raptors have played each other in the regular season for the past 16 seasons. Grandview holds an 12-5 edge in the series, which includes a victory in last season’s 5A quarterfinals as well as a 14-11 victory over Eaglecrest in the Metro East matchup.
EAGLECREST (8-3): Coach Shawn Marsh’s team finished fourth in the rugged Metro East conference that saw all six teams qualify for the 5A playoffs (No. 1 Cherry Creek, No. 7 Grandview, No. 9 Cherokee Trail, No. 15 Arapahoe and No. 22 Overland). The Raptors bounced back from a tough loss to Cherokee Trail in its regular season finale to win its opening round playoff game 34-31 over No. 23 Legacy. Eaglecrest trailed after allowing back-to-back scoring drives to the Lightning early in the third quarter, but senior QB Max Marsh engineered an 80-yard drive — that included a huge 4th-and-16 conversion on a pass to junior WR Ty Robinson — for the go-ahead touchdown, which came on a short run by senior RB David Creal. Junior DB Langston Williams — who earlier caught an 80-yard touchdown pass from Marsh — made his second interception of the game late in the fourth quarter to seal it for Eaglecrest. …In the first matchup against Grandview, the Raptors were held to just 163 yards of total offense and scored on a Marsh touchdown pass to senior WR Jalen Stewart as well as a 38-yard field goal by senior PK AJ Heber…In his debut season as quarterback (after he moved with his dad from Grand Junction Central), Max Marsh has thrown for 2,161 yards and 13 touchdowns against eight interceptions, while he has also rushed for 780 yards — second-best on the team — and seven scores. Creal has racked up 877 yards and scored 10 touchdowns (including six in one game) as the two primary ballcarriers for Eaglecrest behind a line that includes University of Michigan recruit OL Reece Atteberry. Marsh’s 140 completions have gone to nine different receivers, with the uber-athletic Robinson leading the way in receiving yards with 530, while Stewart has ended up in the end zone six times on his team-high 47 catches for 494 yards. Williams has averaged a robust 39.6 yards per catch on just five catches, while senior WRs Eli Hurd and Mikelle Nash each have double-digit catches. … Defensively, Eaglecrest has yielded nearly 24 points per game, but come up with big plays when needed in a lot of instances. A defensive backfield that includes big-time playmaker Williams and tenacious junior DB Seyi Oladipo has been difference making of late.
GRANDVIEW (8-2): Coach John Schultz’s Wolves had a chance to win the Metro East championship on the final day of the regular season, but a 44-21 loss to Cherry Creek (the No. 1 seed in the 5A playoffs) dropped them to third place in the standings. Still, Grandview has won at least eight games for six straight seasons and nine of the last 10. The Wolves were one of eight teams to get byes in the opening round of the playoffs and so will be in at least the second round for the 14th consecutive season, a stretch that included their lone state championship in 2007 and five semifinal appearances in the ensuing years. …In the regular season matchup with Eaglecrest, junior QB Jacob Burr threw for a touchdown (to junior TE Noah Salazar) and also ran for a score, while junior RB Noah Schmidt — clearly not 100 percent healthy — gained 86 yards on 28 carries. Sophomore DB Kahden Rullo had an interception for the Grandview defense. …As has been their tradition, the Wolves have a run-heavy offensive attack predicated on strong line play and a tough-running back, in this case Schmidt, who has overcome injury to pile up 1,655 yards and 15 touchdowns. Burr has rushed for 561 more yards and eight scores, while he’s balanced that with 883 yards passing and 13 touchdown passes against just three interceptions. Senior WR Jordan Smith has been the most prolific pass catcher for Grandview with 292 yards worth of catches and six touchdowns on 17 receptions, while Salazar has three scores and five others have caught TD passes for an offense that averaged a shade under 32 points per game in the regular season. …Defensively, the Wolves have allowed 15.1 points per game, but 11.8 if the 44-point outburst by Cherry Creek is taken out. Senior LB Cade Buckman leads the team in tackles with 64, two more than junior S Colton Martin, while he is tied with senior LB Ty Hussey atop the team’s sack leaderboard with 5.0 and has taken back both of his interceptions for touchdowns. Martin and senior DB Garrett Lippold also have two interceptions, while Smith has pounced on two fumbles.
WINNER GETS: The Eaglecrest-Grandview winner advances to the quarterfinals, where they will meet the winner of the second round matchup between No. 15 Arapahoe and No. 2 Ralston Valley.