Durango High School didn’t make a lot of mistakes Friday.
Unfortunately for the Demons, a few small openings is all a team such as Montrose needs.
The Indians stayed unbeaten in their Southwestern League slate, claiming the SWL title with a 35-13 victory over the Demons on Senior Night at DHS Stadium.
Durango (3-6, 1-3 SWL) ran the ball well on the league champions, utilizing a more old-school approach at times to contrast their hurry-up, spread offense. DHS went back to the old-school I-formation on multiple occasions, with quarterback Hayden Sill under center in front of fullback Isiah Mayberry and, more often than not, tailback Tyler Worley.
The plan worked to the tune of 166 rushing yards and two scores, one each for Worley and Mayberry. Worley carried 30 times for 123 yards. Mayberry, seldom used in the fullback role this season, relished the opportunity, burying a couple of Indians with pancake blocks on sweeps.
“No, I love contact. It was exceptional, man,” said Mayberry, son of George and Tonya Mayberry. “I love running the ball, and I just like helping out my team.”
DHS head coach Greg Wyatt said that while the power running game from under center isn’t typically Durango’s style, it was a necessary switch against a stout Montrose defense.
The problem for Durango was in the passing game, where another case of the drops and a few Sill misfires helped to stall somewhat promising drives on third down. Sill was 7 of 21 for 44 yards, his best a 27-yard toss to Blake Dunlap.
“Third down and long was our Achilles’ heel on defense, and, you know, third down on offense was our Achilles’ heel,” Wyatt said. “But, you know, we battled. I thought we stood toe-to-toe with them for the most part, and given a few big plays, we’re right there in the battle.”
Durango also fumbled twice, both leading to touchdowns, and had a punt and a field goal blocked.
The Montrose offense was powered by big plays.
Quarterback Drew Casebier didn’t throw often, but he hit for big yards more often than not, completing 7 of 12 passes for 121 yards. But most of the Indians’ big plays came in the running game, where they racked up 295 yards as a team.
Angelo Youngren muscled his way for 174 yards and three touchdowns, while fullback Mike Rocha ran for 74 and three scores.
The backbreaker of the bunch came in the second quarter.
DHS had Montrose in a third-and-21 situation from the Indians’ 23 when Youngren broke a draw play 77 yards to push the Indians’ lead to 21-0 with 2 minutes, 54 seconds to play in the first half.
“It was killer, man,” Mayberry said. “It was a big play killer. We could’ve scored (on that next drive) and possibly won the game. I mean, you never know, but other than that, we came off that play, and we rallied on it.”
The Indians (6-3, 3-0 SWL) were able to get a Rocha touchdown to cap a drive that began when DHS turned the ball over on downs from its own 32 with 1:26 to go in the half.
Durango answered, however, with a scoring drive to end the half as Worley scampered in from 8 yards out.
The loss shuts the door on Durango’s playoff hopes with just one regular-season game left to play against a Class 3A opponent. That game will come next Friday when DHS heads west to face Montezuma-Cortez.