These are more like the Grandview Wolves Colorado has known.
A year ago, the Aurorans had lots of returnees on offense, including Class 5A’s leading rusher, as well as the same signal-caller.
Unusual? You bet.
“It has been a while since we’ve had a quarterback returning and starting two years in a row,” head coach John Schultz said.
And the 2016 Wolves didn’t have that many defensive returnees, another odd aspect for a program that has built its foundation by stopping people.
But for this season? It’s a return to regular Grandview.
“Just about every player who takes the field on defense,” Schultz said, “either started or played significant minutes last year.:
It shows. Through eight quarters, the Wolves have allowed seven points, including a shutout last week of Legacy.
And, yes, as usual, it is taking time for the Wolves offense to catch up — Schultz said it generated only about 150 yards in the first week in a 21-7 decision of Chaparral, but more than doubled it last week in a 34-0 whipping of the Lightning.
Defensively, Schultz cited the play of middle linebacker T.J. Jenkins, defensive lineman Hayden Isenhart, linebacker Luke Laflam, free safety Jordan Knapke and defensive back Kevin Clark among the team’s leaders.
“They’re been flying around and playing well with confidence, causing turnovers and causing problems,” Schultz said. “We missed that a little last year.”
They also missed Dean Adams. The popular figure and former defensive coordinator stepped away to deal with family issues and has returned. It could be an immeasurable boost for Grandview.
“He’s back and having a blast,” Schultz said. “He does it with a ton of energy and passion.”
The Wolves, who also are without their best athlete, Gunner Gentry, who has a broken bone in a hand suffered in Week 1, are in perhaps the top matchup of Week 3, against Cherry Creek District rival Eaglecrest.
However, several others below in this round have been labelled for your viewing pleasure as Colorado nears the end of the first month of the 2017 season:
Best bets
Eaglecrest (2-0) vs. Grandview (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Legacy Stadium
The visiting Raptors have won 12 consecutive regular-season games and 13 of their past 14 overall. … Eaglecrest has rolled to 87 points in two outings, victories over district rival Smoky Hill and Highlands Ranch’s ThunderRidge. … The Raptors won last year’s thriller, 36-29. … Through two games, 12 different Wolves have a rushing attempt, topped by Jordan Billingsley’s 100 yards on 28 carries. … Clark has two of the team’s six sacks. … Gentry won’t be back until league play, in Week 6, coach Schultz said. … QB Kyle Smith has thrown for 142 yards, three TDs and one interception.
Pomona (2-0) vs. Ralston Valley (1-2), Friday, 7 p.m., NAAC
Max Borghi returned to the Pomona lineup after his knee surgery in the off-season and promptly ran 17 times for 164 yards and a TD in a 42-7 road romp at Fountain-Fort Caron. … QB Ryan Marquez was 13-of-22 for 187 yards, two TDs and an interception. … Junior Theorius Robison added to his breakout play with 100 yards rushing and three TDs on just 13 carries. … Coach Matt Loyd’s Mustangs began a season 0-2 for the first time since 2009. …  Ralston Valley’s nonleague schedule also includes Jeffco foe Columbine. The Mustangs will be off next week, then finish out nonleague in Week 5 against perennial 4A power Pine Creek.
ThunderRidge (0-2) vs. Mountain Vista (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Shea Stadium
A Douglas County District and Highlands Ranch-area rivalry. … The Grizzlies are still looking for their first victory for new head coach Doug Nisenson. They opened the season by getting handled by 4A power Pine Creek 23-7 and last week was blitzed 38-13 by Eaglecrest. … The Golden Eagles went up to Fort Collins in Week 1 and got pasted 35-21 by upstart Poudre, then waxed Rangeview 52-24. … QB Campbell Lancaster was 18-of-24 passing last week for 326 yards and some five TDs. … Noah Hicks rushed 23 times for 151 yards and a TD.
Cherry Creek (1-1) vs. Arapahoe (1-1), Saturday, 1 p.m., Littleton Public Schools Stadium
In a Saturday matinee, the Bruins are on the road to a familiar spot, LPSS, as the Warriors also used to be in the Centennial League. … Cherry Creek got past Doherty 33-27 last week, after dropping its opener 25-20 at Regis Jesuit. … Junior QB Alex Padilla continued his emergence with 222 yards passing, three TDs and no interceptions. … Dimitri Stanley, the University of Colorado pledge, had another big game. And, yes, it may as well be a recording. He grabbed 17 receptions for 2 TDs. … Last week, Arapahoe won the Milk Can Game against Heritage, which always is large. The Warriors won 28-17. … RB Matt Phelan compiled 197 yards rushing on 28 carries for two TDs. … Max Roose and Riley Schell each added fumble recoveries.
Fairview (2-0) vs. Rocky Mountain (1-1), Saturday, 11 a.m., French Field
The visiting Knights are not the team you want to see in the regular season. Since 2013, when it was state runner-up, Fairview is an impressive 35-4 before the postseason. … Knights are coming off a 57-20 dismantling of city rival Boulder. … QB Aidan Atkinson was 21-of-30 for 330 yards and five TDs. And senior Mariano Kemp rolled to 200 yards rushing and two TDs. … The Lobos of Fort Collins are fresh from a 30-0 whipping of crosstown foe Fossil Ridge. … Rocky Mountain rushed for only 71 yards, but QBs Tanner Hoke and Shjone Mosser combined to throw for 218 yards. … The Lobos have already matched the past season’s victory total — they were 1-9 in 2016, including dropping their first eight games. The one victory? It was by 21-20 over Rangeview.
Also keep an eye on …
Palmer (0-2) vs. Doherty (1-1), Thursday, 7 p.m., Garry Berry Stadium
The 4A Terror shave been outscored by a combined 104-6 and they’re facing, the 5A Spartans, who scored a whopping 83 points in their opener.
Hinkley (1-1) vs. Lakewood (2-0), Friday, 4 p.m., Jefferson County Stadium
The Thunderbids snapped a 13-game losing streak last week by beating Thornton; coach Jeff Braun has turned the Tigers, who have won eight of their past 12 games, into winners.
Far Northeast Warriors (2-0) vs. Northglenn (2-0), Friday, 7 p.m., Five Star Stadium
Neither team usually begins the season 2-0. Yet, here the Warriors and Norse are and one of them will be 3-0. It’s good confidence for programs that need it.
Highlands Ranch (2-0) vs. Chaparral (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m., EchoPark Stadium
Despite losing their head coach on the day before their season began, the Falcons, now under David May, have responded well and will take on a Douglas County District rival.
Rangeview (0-2) at Regis Jesuit (1-1), Friday, 7 p.m., Lou Kellogg Stadium
A couple of ornery Aurora Raiders groups — Rangeview has been hit for 135 points in two games and Regis Jesuit remains miffed about blowing a late lead last week to Mullen.
Bear Creek (0-2) vs. Columbine (2-0), Friday, 7:30 p.m., Jeffco Stadium
Bears have been outscored by an aggregate 67-27 through eight quarters; meanwhile, the ordinarily Rushing Rebels have 22 pass attempts over two games and thrown for four TDs. Really.
Fountain-Fort Carson (1-1) vs. Pine Creek (2-0), Saturday, 1 p.m., District 20 Stadium
The 5A Trojans realize they are about to take on the resident truth in 4A, which can only be a benefit now as well as later.