CONNELL - Last Friday, Grandview couldn't overcome its third slow start in a row in a 38-14 CWAC football loss at Connell.
The Greyhounds cruised to victories in their first two games, despite a sluggish start each time. But Connell was no ordinary opponent.
The Eagles were third at state last year and proved why against the visiting Hounds with two quick first quarter scores to go up 14-0.
"Their kids were more relaxed," observed Grandview Coach Dustin Lamb. "We went out like a team that hadn't been there before and it took us awhile to get started."
Not only was the first quarter costly on the scoreboard, but for Grandview's depth as the 'Hounds lost starting defensive tackle Blake Carpenter for six weeks with a broken arm.
Connell didn't escape the opening stanza unscathed, either. The Eagles lost starting quarterback Kirk Taylor, who had already thrown for 84 yards in the first quarter when a broken leg ended his game and season.
Grandview got on the scoreboard in the second quarter on a 15-yard Brandon Artz touchdown pass to Marty Guillen.
That made it 14-7 and it appeared the 'Hounds were back in the game for good.
But a muffed Grandview punt just a minute before halftime opened the floodgates. Connell took advantage for a quick score and a 21-7 lead at the break.
"That was one of the real crucial plays of the game," Lamb said of the punt. "It looked like we had some momentum going into the half."
The late score gave the Eagles a second wind for the second half. They blitzed Grandview for two more scores in the third quarter - including recovering a fumble in the Hounds' end zone - to all but put the game out of reach at 35-7.
"We just weren't fortunate enough to stay close to them," Lamb noted. Connell's large lead caused the Hounds to go away from the mix of run and pass that proved so successful in the first two games.
"We had to throw the ball to try to get back in the game," Lamb said.
As a result, Grandview game breaker Frankie Medina was held to 66 yards rushing, but on just 10 carries.
The Hounds' need to go to the air resulted in Artz throwing more passes - 46 - than he did in the first two games combined.
The senior connected on 27 of his attempts for 227 yards, one touchdown and an interception. Artz hit eight different receivers, including Kevin Concienne who caught nine passes for 90 yards.
Artz also scrambled from a yard out in the fourth quarter to make it a 35-14 game. Connell tacked on a late field goal to close out scoring for the game.
Grandview (1-1, 2-1) returns home this Friday for a non-league game against 3A Ellensburg.
"We're going to step up to the pressure, I think," Lamb said of the Hounds.
As far as his team's slow starts so far, Lamb is still looking for an answer. "If I knew that I'd be a lot happier today," he said with a slight chuckle.
Grandview - Artz 27-46-227, one touchdown, one int.
Connell - Taylor 4-8-84, one touchdown; Clyde 6-16-92, two touchdowns.
Grandview - Medina 10-66; Artz 9-26, one touchdown; Vela 1-3.
Connell - Orozco 26-128, Clyde 7-27, Taylor 1-9.
Grandview - Vela 5-55; Kevin Concienne 9-90; Medina 3-15; Guillen 2-21, one touchdown.
Connell - Hadley 4-62, two touchdowns; Price 1-30, one touchdown; Hawkins 4-72.