WESTMINSTER | The Grandview football team unveiled a whole new offense in Thursday’s season-opener against Horizon.
Coach John Schultz had just one returning starter back on the field, but several of the new faces made names for themselves in the midst of the Wolves’ 37-7 non-league rout of the Hawks at Five Star North Stadium.
Senior Tyler Smith threw for three touchdowns and ran for two more in his first varsity start at quarterback and senior wide receiver Isaiah Lang hauled in a pair of touchdown passes as Grandview rallied from early 7-0 deficit to score 37 unanswered points.
“With Gabe (offensive lineman Cirivello) out, we only had one returning starter on offense, it was just brand new people everywhere, so it took us awhile,” Schultz said after his team racked up 270 yards and five touchdowns.
“We just talked about getting that first touchdown and going from there,” he added. “We had to be patient and let our defense get us field position. We’ll just get experience on the fly and we’ll be OK.”
Junior Keifer Glau and the Grandview defense and special teams had quite a big hand in helping the offense get comfortable.
After yielding a touchdown to Horizon on its opening drive, which ended with Gino Tate’s 24-yard touchdown catch from Ayden Karraker, the Wolves put the clamps on the Hawks, who committed five turnovers in all, including four lost fumbles.
Nick Meyer’s fumble recovery set up Smith’s tying two-yard touchdown pass to Morgan Smith in the first quarter, then Glau — who racked up two blocked punts, an interception, a sack and a fumble recovery on the night — blocked a Gunnar Campbell punt to set up Kenny Nguyen’s go-ahead 26-yard field goal.
The Wolves stuffed a scrambling Karraker on fourth down to stop Horizon’s subsequent possession and needed just five plays to go 60 yards. The drive ended with a spectacular catch in the end zone, as Lang soared over Hawks’ defender Dominick Castiglione for a 31-yard touchdown catch and a 17-7 lead.
“That was a great catch by Isaiah; I just gave him a chance and he went up and took it,” said Smith, who was 5-for-6 for 52 yards and two TDs in the first half.
Grandview could have had more points, but couldn’t covert two other possession in Hawks’ territory after Glau’s recovery of a bad snap on a punt and Keelan Poole’s fumble recovery on an ill-advised pitch by Karraker.
In the third quarter, Glau intercepted Karraker to set up Smith’s first touchdown run, a 20-yarder up the right sideline, then blocked another Campbell punt.
One play later, Smith connected with Lang on a 30-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone. A Cameron Knight fumble recovery led to Smith’s second rushing score, a 3-yard with 2:11 left in the third period that made it 37-7.
It was a satisfying effort for Glau, who nearly had a third blocked punt but was flagged for running into the kicker in the fourth quarter.
“It felt great; I was just doing everything I could and playing as hard as I could,” said Glau, a second team All-Centennial League defensive back last season.
“I’m out here to do my job and give as much effort as I can, help the defense turn the ball over and get momentum,” he continued. “I’m here for the family, not as a single player.”
Schultz was pleased with Smith’s intelligence and effort at the quarterback position and Smith himself came away pretty pleased.
“I just went out there and did my job, not worrying anybody else and just trusting everybody,” said Smith, who finished 6-for-8 for 80 yards and rushed five times for 43.
The Grandview offensive line gets a further boost with the return of Cirivello, an all-league second teamer last season who Schultz said will be ready to go for the Wolves’ 7 p.m. Sept. 6 contest against Chaparral at Legacy Stadium.
The Wolves still must wait three more games for running back Chukwuma Obinnah, a transfer from Regis Jesuit, to be eligible to play.
Obinnah — who stood on the sidelines wearing a No. 7 jersey — can play in Grandview’s Week 5 game against Eaglecrest.
Against Horizon, the Wolves finished with 190 yards rushing, led by Ben Marshall’s 56.
Courtney Oakes is Sports Editor of the Aurora Sentinel. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @aurorasports. Facebook: Aurora Prep Sentinel
GRANDVIEW 37, HORIZON 7
Score by quarters:
Grandview 7 10 20 0 — 37
Horizon 7 0 0 0 — 7
Horizon — Gino Tate 24 yard pass from Ayden Karraker (Jason Jones kick), 9:28
Grandview — Morgan Smith 2 yard pass from Tyler Smith (Kenny Nguyen kick), 6:26
Grandview — Nguyen 26 yard field goal, 5:32
Grandview — Isaiah Lang 31 yard pass from Tyler Smith (Nguyen kick), 2:23
Grandview — Tyler Smith 20 yard run (Nguyen kick), 6:37
Grandview — Lang 30 yard pass from Tyler Smith (kick failed), 4:45
Grandview — Tyler Smith 3 yard run (Nguyen kick), 2:11
Grandview: Ben Marshall 12-56, Austin Quarles 7-46, Tyler Smith 5-43, Brandon Brooks 2-19, Frank Solomon 1-8, Ted Billingsley 1-8, Alex Reyna 4-8, Hayden Porter 3-1, Carter Boswell 7-1
Horizon: Jordan Iacovetta 13-23, Bryce Killmon 4-7, Josh Blottiaux 1-6, Gunnar Campbell 6-4, Ian Rael 2-0, Ayden Karraker 5-(minus 23)
Grandview: Smith 6-8, 80 yards, 3 touchdowns; Boswell 0-0
Horizon: Karraker 12-23, 149 yards, 1 touchdown, 1 interception; Austin Gussman 0-2
Grandview: Isaiah Lang 3-73, Jason Burger 1-3, Solomon 1-2, Morgan Smith 1-2
Horizon: Dominick Castiglione 2-66, Koy Bowen 1-34, Gino Tate 1-24, Greg Gonzales 1-11, Blottiaux 1-7, Jacob Dinkel 3-7, Campbell 1-0, Iacovetta 2-0