GREENWOOD VILLAGE -- At first, it seemed as if this playoff showdown was going to erode into a battle of equally jittery football teams struggling to perform on the state tournament stage.
Fairview, which traveled to Cherry Creek's Stutler Bowl to take on ninth-seeded Grandview in the first round of the Class 5A playoffs, endured a frustrating first half. Among the foibles were interceptions by quarterback Anders Hill on each of the Knights' first two possessions, six sacks of Hill, and a touchdown-into-turnover play when a fumble by Cole Scheifele was ruled a touchback for Grandview as the ball went out of bounds in the end zone.
For their part, the Wolves were equally generous early, getting flagged for 70 yards of penalties in the first half alone, and Grandview had long touchdown runs called back in the first quarter and on the second play of the second half.
After that, however, it was all Grandview.
The Wolves scored 33 unanswered points after halftime, steadily pulling away to hand Fairview a season-ending 40-6 defeat.
"It just wasn't our night," Fairview coach Tom McCartney said. "There were some things that happened where we thought we could have some big plays, and then we get the ball knocked out through the end zone. It just didn't seem like the ball was going to bounce our way tonight. Things just didn't go our way."
Hill recovered from his early interceptions to turn in a solid game, hitting Sam Martin for a 12-yard scoring toss with 16.1 seconds remaining in the first half. After the point-after attempt was blocked, the Knights were eyeing an upset while trailing 7-6 at the break.
Grandview scored the next 10 points without allowing Fairview to touch the ball, getting a 3-yard touchdown run from Cassius Davis before catching the Knights on their heels with a successful onside kick. Tanner Hubbard converted the turnover with a 20-yard field goal to give Grandview a 17-6 edge. That 10-point swing seemed to take some of the life out of Fairview, which never threatened again.
"Even when they went down and scored in the third and got the onsides, we still felt like we had opportunities," McCartney said. "We thought we left points on the field (in the first half) and they made some mistakes too that hurt them, but we felt like it was anybody's game. Even when they got the touchdown and the field goal, it still was only 17-6. We felt like we had the ability to score. We just couldn't get it done."
Fairview (5-5) was unable to slow Grandview's rushing attack, as Tanner Gentry, quarterback Reece Weber, and Davis added rushing touchdowns as Grandview piled on the points. Fairview also surrendered a safety on a botched punt attempt.
Davis, Weber, and Isaiah Jackson all topped 100 yards rushing for Grandview, which amassed 461 rushing yards overall. Not including the onside kick, Fairview finished with six turnovers while Hill suffered eight sacks total.
"They're very good up front," McCartney said. "They run a nice complement of plays, so that if you try to take one away, they go to something else. The big boys up front for them changed the line of scrimmage. Give their backs credit, they ran hard. And whenever it seemed like the ball might be coming out, it bounced their way."
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GRANDVIEW 40, FAIRVIEW 6
At Cherry Creek H.S.
Fairview (5-5) 0 6 0 0 -- 6
Grandview (7-3) 7 0 19 16 -- 40
Grandview -- Isaiah Jackson 1 run (Tanner Hubbard kick).
Fairview -- Sam Martin 12 pass from Anders Hill (kick blocked).
Grandview -- Cassius Davis 3 run (Hubbard kick).
Grandview -- Hubbard 20 field goal.
Grandview -- Tanner Gentry 21 run (Hubbard kick).
Grandview -- Safety; Fairview punt snap through end zone.
Grandview -- Reece Weber 53 run (Hubbard kick).
Grandview -- Davis 15 run (Hubbard kick).
First downs 13 14
Rushes-yards 14-(-70) 55-461
Passing yards 360 29
Comp-Att-Int 24-45-4 3-7-0
Fumbles-Lost 1-1 2-2
Penalties-Yards 7-63 10-110
RUSHING -- Fairview: Kevin Sharr 2-5, Johnny Feauto 2-(-13), Anders Hill 10-(-62); Grandview: Isaiah Jackson 16-125, Cassius Davis 20-118, Reece Weber 11-192, Tanner Gentry 2-18, Ben Marshall 6-8.
PASSING (comp-att-int-yards) -- Fairview: Hill 23-38-3-349; Feauto 1-7-1-11; Grandview: Weber 3-7-0-29.
RECEIVING -- Fairview: Sam Martin 10-175, Cameron Frazier 2-45, Cole Scheifele 7-116, Owen Harris 3-20, Sharr 1-4; Grandview: Gentry 2-21, Christian Backes 1-8.