AURORA — Interestingly enough, it began as quite promising for Legacy, which entered Saturday’s play as decided underdogs, and you know how most everyone pulls for the underdog. The Lightning forced a couple of three-and-outs and in between used a hurry-it-up offense to reach the end zone and surprise host Grandview by taking an early lead.
However, reality can come in different forms and it certainly did for the Lightning.
As the No. 21 seed, the highest that had advanced to the second round of the 24-team field, Legacy gradually and ultimately fell to one of the premier teams in the Class 5A playoffs by a 45-21 count that seemed to underline the Wolves’ superiority in size, speed and depth.
The No. 5 Wolves improved to 10-1 and will have a rematch with Cherry Creek District- and Metro East League-rival Eaglecrest in next weekend’s quarterfinals. The Raptors downed the Wolves 36-35 after Grandview had blown a two-touchdown lead in the fourth quarter.
The Lightning finished 5-7 and had its five-game winning streak snapped. And for the record, when Legacy surprised Grandview on its opening possession with its fast pace and seemed to score on its fourth play, the touchdown was negated by penalty and it ended up punting on fourth-and-27.
“It hurt,” first-year Legacy coach Corey Heinz said. “We had a little momentum there, but (the Wolves) are really fast and strong, and they leaned on us pretty good. That’s a good football team.”
Still, Legacy receiver Jack Smith said, “it sucks. We started out very well. We got two three-and-outs right away, and when that touchdown got called back, it took away a lot of momentum. It could have been a different game if that hadn’t happened, but we played hard.”
True. The Lighting didn’t go down for a lack of effort. No, there were other issues, some it could control and others it couldn’t. Legacy was guilty of three turnovers, including two lost fumbles, and the Grandview defense proved stingy. Legacy was held to 36 yards rushing and punted six times. The Lighting also was 1-of-13 (seven percent) on third-down conversions.
In addition, the Wolves methodically pulled away and roared to 504 yards of offense, 374 rushing. While the Lighting was in the game through a half, trailing only 17-7, Grandview went for four touchdowns over the final 22 and one-half minutes.
Smith and Jaiden Peterson caught scoring passes from Nicholas McCarthy, and Jaden Wingfield ran for another, but Legacy was overmatched.
“I’m proud of my guys, the way they responded in the season,” Heinz said in pointing to his team’s turn-around from an 0-6 start. “We played to the end. It was like night and day. They responded and I’m really proud of them, and I’m proud to coach them.
“They came to work every day and they were fun to coach.”
Statistically, McCarthy was 24-of-41 for 258 yards, the two scores and one interception. Wingfield was tops on the team with 19 yards rushing, but Dakota Key remained a target of the Wolves defense that held him to 17 yards on 15 carries. Peterson added six catches for 61 yards.
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Grandview 45, Legacy 21
At Legacy Stadium
Legacy (5-7) 0 7 0 14 — 21
Grandview — Dayne Prim 29 pass from Jacob Burr (Cobi wood kick).
Legacy — Jack Smith 4 pass from Nicholas McCarthy (John Hoyland kick). Grandview — Prim 24 pass from Burr (Wood kick). Grandview — Wood 46 field goal.
Grandview — Jordan Smith 19 pass from Burr (Wood kick). Grandview — Burr 43 run (Wood kick).
Grandview — Jordan Billingsley 2 run (Wood kick). Legacy — Jaiden Peterson 5 pass from McCarthy (Hoyland kick). Grandview — Burr 8 run (Wood kick). Legacy — Jaden Wingfield 6 run (Hoyland kick).
RUSHING — Legacy: Jaden Wingfield 3-19, Dakota Key 15-17, Owen Weber 10(minus-4), Nicholas McCarthy 6-(minus-8). Grandview: Jordan Billingsley 25-158, Noah Schmidt 18-138, Jaboc Burr 6-39, Jaden Castle 2-38, Jack Rogers 1-11, Roman Anderson 2-(minus-2), Jordan Smith 1-(minus-8).
PASSING — Legacy: McCarthy 24-41-1-258. Grandview: Burr (7-10-1-130
RECEIVING — Legacy: Jaiden Peterson 9-80, Jack Smith 6-61, Owen Weber 3-59, Cole Walker 3-34, Key 3-24. Grandview: Dayne Prim 3-65, Jordan Smith 3-42, Hayden Isenhart 1-23.