Football: Grandview capsule

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Grandview
GRANDVIEW

GRANDVIEW WOLVES

Coach: John Schultz, 10th season

Last year: 8-4 overall, 4-1 in 5A Centennial League (lost in quarterfinals of 5A state playoffs)

Players to watch: Gabe Cirivello, 6-foot-3, 275 pounds, OL, sr.; Isaiah Talbert, 6-4, 265, OL, sr.; Connor Thrush, 6-2, 285, OL, sr.; Ben Marshall, 6-0, 175, RB, jr.; Chukwuma Obinnah, 6-1, 205, RB, jr.; Kolten Johnson, 6-2, 195, LB, sr.; Hayden Porter, 5-8, 210, LB, sr.; Keifer Glau, 5-10, 165, DB, jr.; Cameron Knight, 6-1, 185, DB, jr.; Keelan Poole, 6-2, 190, LB, jr.; Sean Kopel, 5-11, 175, DB, sr.; Ricky Hayes, 6-0, 195, OL/LB, jr.

2013 outlook: After a season in which Grandview exhibited a somewhat different look — which got them to the quarterfinals of the Class 5A state playoffs before a heartbreaking loss to ThunderRidge — John Schultz’s Wolves should return to their roots in 2013 in his 10th season as head coach. With the graduation of electric playmaking wide receiver Tanner Gentry, some talented tight ends and dual threat quarterback Reece Weber, Schultz must return to the formula that made his teams successful in the past — and produced a 5A state championship in 2007 — with a run-heavy philosophy that is complimented by a swarming, opportunistic defense. Last season’s Grandview team threw for 1,855 yards, within shouting distance of the 2,465 yards rushing, but the disparity between the two numbers is likely to grow significantly this season. Schultz has to find out who will take over the starting job at quarterback in the place of Weber, an All-City first teamer who accounted for more than 2,400 yards of total offense and 26 touchdowns last season. Whoever is under center for Grandview is likely to do plenty of handing off, especially when bruising junior running back Chukwuma Obinnah is able to suit up. Obinnah, a 6-foot-1, 205-pounder, transferred from Regis Jesuit, where he missed most of last season after rushing for 265 yards on just 18 carries to open the year. He will be eligible to play in Grandview’s fifth game of the season, it’s Centennial League opener against Eaglecrest on Sept. 27. Gabe Cirivello — a second team all-league selection last season — Connor Thrush and Isaiah Talbert average 275 pounds across the front, which should help the Wolves execute the clock-milking drives they’ve been adept at in the past. Junior Ben Marshall should get plenty of carries early in the season with the Wolves’ top four rushers from last season graduated. Another staple for Grandview is defense, as the Wolves expect another strong unit that looks to decrease the 22 points per game they yielded a year ago. The linebacking corps should be a strength with the return of seniors Kolten Johnson and Hayden Porter, who combined for 16 tackles for losses last season — including nine sacks — while juniors Keelan Poole and Ricky Hayes see their roles expand. Senior Sean Kopel led the team in tackles last season and is an important part of the secondary, which has other stalwarts in juniors Keifer Glau, a second team All-Centennial League performer last season, and Cameron Knight. Grandview — which garnered the No. 6 spot in the CHSAANow.com’s 5A preseason coach/media poll — will have a different look on special teams without Gentry, but has no shortage of athletes.

Quoting the coach: “The strength of our team should be defense. The unknown is QB, so we’re back to our normal run-first offense.”

2013 schedule: Home games in all caps (played at Legacy Stadium): Thursday, Aug. 29 — vs. Horizon at North Stadium, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 6 – CHAPARRAL, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 13 — vs. ThunderRidge at Shea Stadium, 7 p.m.; Thursday, Sept. 19 — MULLEN, 7 p.m.; Friday, Sept. 27 — EAGLECREST, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 4 — vs. Overland at Stutler Bowl, 4 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 11 — at Cherokee Trail, 7 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 18 — at Cherry Creek, 7:30 p.m.; Friday, Oct. 25 — SMOKY HILL, 7:30 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel