AURORA--It took seven years and seven points for the Eaglecrest Raptors to prove that they are here to stay among the state's best 5A teams in 2016.
Most of the team's current players were in elementary school when Eaglecrest last beat the Wolves on September 25, 2009.
That game was a thriller, and so was this one.
In a back-and forth contest that included consecutive turnovers by both teams to set up the winning touchdown, No. 9 Eaglecrest survived to beat the favored No. 3 Grandview Wolves 36-29.
It took a fantastic effort all around for the Raptors to pull off the upset.
Senior Victor Garnes piled up a huge chunk of all-purpose yards, scoring two touchdowns and also getting an interception on defense toward the end of the first half.
While Garnes was dominating for Eaglecrest, Junior Wide Receiver Gunner Gentry was having himself a day for Grandview.
Wolves Quarterback Gunnar Lamphere was targeting Gentry all game, and his wideout kept delivering with huge plays in key moments.
In the first half, the Raptors looked like they were getting ready to pull away, winning 21-7 and driving down the field with the ball.
But just before Eaglecrest reached the 50 yard line, the Wolves brought pressure.
Luke LaFlam picked off an intended pitch to the tailback, snatching the ball in mid-flight and taking it all the way to the end zone for a Grandview touchdown to make it 21-14 at halftime.
The teams traded scores early in the third quarter, and after an Eaglecrest two-point conversion, the Raptors were out in front 29-21.
The Wolves were trailing by that same score when they started putting together a solid drive in the fourth quarter.
On 4th down and long inside Eaglecrest territory, Lamphere sailed a beautiful pass down the field that landed perfectly in the arms of Amaris Duggan for a long touchdown.
After a successful two-point conversion with another pass to Gentry, the game was tied.
Then, madness ensued.
It looked like the Raptors would score a go-ahead touchdown, but they fumbled inside Grandview's five-yard line to give the ball back to the Wolves midway through the final quarter.
However, just a few plays later, Eaglecrest Cornerback Jon Heupal made a great read and picked off a pass to give his team fantastic field position.
That set up the eventual game-winning touchdown when Raptors Quarterback Jalen Mergerson barreled his way through a couple of defenders to find the end zone from a couple yards out.
So, the score was 36-29 with roughly five minutes remaining.
The Wolves did have one final chance, getting into Eaglecrest territory in the final minutes, down only one touchdown.
Once again, the Raptors' defense came through with a timely takeaway.
This time, it was Quentin Bowen with the interception to seal the game and cue Eaglecrest's long-awaited celebration.
The Raptors will look to stay undefeated when they take on Cherokee Trail next week.
On the other hand, Grandview will look for a bounce back win when the Wolves play Cherry Creek.
Copyright 2016 KUSA