Grandview's Tanner Gentry (19) runs in for a touchdown during a Class 5A semifinal playoff football game between Grandview and Columbine on Nov. 26 at Jefferson County Stadium in Denver. (Heather L. Smith/Aurora Sentinel)
Grandview is the only one Aurora team ranked in the top 10 in the initial Class 5A football poll of the 2012 season.
Coming off a trip to last season’s semifinals, the Wolves sit in the No. 4 spot in the Denver Post preseason media poll, which was released Monday. The season begins with Zero Week games on Friday and Saturday.
Valor Christian received 10 of the 14 first-place votes cast by media members around the state and takes the top spot into its first season in 5A. The Eagles, winners of the past two 4A state championships and one in 3A in 2009, racked up 134 points in the Post‘s ranking system to come in ahead of defending state champion Columbine (127). Pomona’s 105 points put it third in the rankings.
Coach John Schultz’s Grandview team received 85 points to sit solidly fourth as it seeks to follow up a year in which it made the final four before losing to a juggernaut Columbine team. The Wolves have plenty of skill returning on both sides of the football in 2012, including senior wide receiver/defensive back Tanner Gentry, who committed to the University of Wyoming in the offseason.
Grandview will have plenty of chances to prove itself against top competition, as the Wolves play three straight games against ranked opponents following a season-opening trip to play in California.
The Wolves play on the road against No. 10 Chaparral on Sept. 6, followed the next week by a home contest against No. 9 ThunderRidge and then a non-conference trip to rival Mullen — still ranked No. 5 despite the controversial firing of coach Dave Logan in the offseason — on Sept. 21. Grandview will get to see Logan on a different sideline on Oct. 19 when it plays No. 6 Cherry Creek in Creek Conference play.
Regis Jesuit and Cherokee Trail, both playoff teams last season, missed the top 10, but were the Aurora teams to receive votes.
Coach Mark Nolan’s Regis Jesuit program is bursting with numbers, but doesn’t have the same experience level its had in the past two seasons, including its trip to the 5A state championship game in 2010. The Raiders picked up three votes in the preseason poll, two more than coach Monte Thelen’s Cherokee Trail team — which lost some big names to graduation — but has size up front and plenty of speed. The teams play each other on Sept. 21 in a rematch of a 2010 semifinal.
Regis Jesuit has a challenging schedule ahead if the preseason rankings are accurate, as it faces parochial school rival Mullen on Sept. 14, then plays away games at ThunderRidge (Sept. 27) and Chaparral (Oct. 12) in Continental Conference play. The Raiders and Wolverines needed overtime to decide last season’s contest.
Cherokee Trail plays ranked teams back-to-back on the Creek Conference slate, taking on Cherry Creek on Oct. 5 and then Grandview in a fierce local rivalry contest on Oct. 11.
The next Denver Post media poll comes out after the first full week of games in September.
Reach Sports Editor Courtney Oakes at email@example.com or 303-750-7555
DENVER POST 2012 PRESEASON MEDIA FOOTBALL POLL
RK TEAM REC PTS PVS
1. Valor Christian (10) 0-0 134 –
2. Columbine (4) 0-0 127 1
3. Pomona 0-0 105 3
4. Grandview 0-0 85 4
5. Mullen 0-0 67 5
6. Cherry Creek 0-0 54 –
7. Ralston Valley 0-0 53 7
8. Grand Junction 0-0 40 6
9. ThunderRidge 0-0 39 –
10. Chaparral 0-0 31 –
OTHERS RECEIVING VOTES: Horizon 11, Lakewood 11, Fountain-Ft. Carson 5,
Highlands Ranch 3, Regis Jesuit 3, Bear Creek 2, Cherokee Trail 1,