Grandview stuns Valor Christian with upset in 5A football quarterfinals

Grandview Valor Christian football

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HIGHLANDS RANCH — The roar from the visiting stands grew louder, and louder. And louder.

The clock hit zeroes. Grandview had done it. The Wolves pulled off one of the biggest upsets in recent memory in Class 5A football, taking down top-seeded and two-time defending champion Valor Christian in the quarterfinals, 28-16.

"Somebody had to do it," Grandview coach John Schultz said afterward.

Grandview's win snapped Valor Christian's 21-game winning streak, which had been tied for the longest active streak in the state.

"This is an unreal feeling," said Grandview senior Gunner Gentry. "It's surreal. It doesn't feel real."

In miserable wet conditions that started as rain and turned to snow, the Wolves scored 28 unanswered points after Valor Christian grabbed a 10-0 lead in the first half.

"It was probably the rainiest, most miserable cold, wet first quarter," Schultz said. "We didn't (handle it) at the beginning. But they got used to it, and the ball boys figured out how to take care of the footballs, and the managers did a great job."

The game, predictably, was affected by those miserable conditions. In a span of 21 seconds early in the first quarter, the teams fumbled the ball back-and-forth three times.

Grandview Valor Christian football

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"We had to stay mentally tough," Gentry said. "We knew it was going to rain, we knew it was going to be snowing, so we really had to stay in tune to what we were doing."

Valor settled down, and Joshia Davis gave his team a 7-0 lead late in the first quarter. Brian Brogan added a 22-yard field goal to make it 10-0 in the second quarter.

That was when Grandview junior Jordan Billingsley started to make his huge imprint on the game. The running back broke a 71-yard run, setting up a 19-touchdown from senior Gunner Gentry on a reverse.

"Getting that touchdown after Jordan's long run, it just settled everyone down," Schultz said. "And then they just started to compete again. They weren't worried about what was going to go wrong next. They just started to play football."

Billingsley was again the spark on the next drive, when his 43-yard run set up a 7-yard rushing touchdown by Prentice Wilson.

Suddenly, Grandview led 14-10. They took that lead into halftime — giving the underdog a big boost.

"We had a lot more energy coming into halftime than if we would've been down," Gentry said. "We came in excited, ready to finish out the game, ready to win."

It showed.

Grandview Valor Christian football

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Grandview's defense forced two Valor punts to start the second half, and Wolves quarterback Kyle Smith hit Dayne Prim on a play-action pass from the 1-yard-line to make it 21-10 with 3:18 left in the third quarter.

Billingsley, who finished with 229 yards, added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter, a 25-yarder, and the Wolves could taste the upset.

Valor Christian didn't quit. The Eagles scored with 4:41 left to make it 28-16, but the two-point attempt failed, and Grandview recovered the onside kick attempt.

Grandview's defense, led by Gentry — who played both ways — as well as Cade Bruckman and Darius Tucker, had an outstanding night.

"Great job by our defense," Schultz said. "They flew around all night."

The win secured a spot in next week's semifinals for the Wolves, and ended Valor Christian's streak of reaching eight-straight championship games. The last time the Eagles didn't make a title game was 2008, their first year as a varsity program.

"They're such a great team, and they have been for such a long time," Gentry said. "It just feels great to come out with the victory."

Grandview Valor Christian football

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