The Demons turned over a new leaf Saturday on a brilliant autumn day in Durango.
The Durango High School boys soccer team - with a new lineup, a new formation and a new scoring strategy - shut out Grand Junction 3-nil at sunny Riverview Sports Complex.
Reversing a troubling trend of giving up early goals, the Demons on this day scored early.
Then they scored again and again, completing a Southwestern League sweep with back-to-back wins over Fruita Monument and Grand Junction on back-to-back days.
The Demons showcased their remodeled offense in the seventh minute of Saturday morning's match when senior defender Joe Casey, from his right back position, lofted a picture-perfect through-ball to a streaking Tim Hubertus, who one-timed the ball into the Grand Junction net.
Hubertus, a junior, set up Durango's second goal in the 34th minute when he served a crossing pass to a streaking Matthew Emmanuel-Ogier, who chested the ball past the Tigers' keeper and into the back of the net.
Three minutes later, the Demons' new-look 3-5-2 formation replicated the second goal; Ogier headed home a perfect crossing pass from Zachary Brown to give the Demons a 3-0 first-half lead.
The teams played a scoreless second half.
"Getting that first goal helped tremendously," said Hubertus, who tallied his first SWL goal of the season after leading DHS in scoring a year ago.
"It took the weight off our shoulders. We could relax and play," Hubertus said. "And it gave us momentum."
He said the Demons successfully adjusted from the usual 4-4-2 - four defenders, four midfielders, two forwards - to the offensive-minded 3-5-2 because most of the players had used the 3-5-2 in club soccer last year.
"We finished our opportunites," DHS head coach Kenny Wood said after the Demons improved to 3-1-0 in the SWL and 4-4-1 overall.
"I love those early goals," a smiling Wood said as he accepted congratulations from a bevy of DHS parents.
"We've been stressing coming out to play right from the (first) whistle," Wood said. "We did that (Saturday)."
Wood credited forwards Abel Garcia and Brown with making effective runs deep into Grand Junction territory, opening space for Hubertus to score the game's first goal.
Garcia scored one of Durango's three goals in its 3-1 win over Fruita Monument on Friday - a goal originally credited to teammate Jamie Finney.
Wood said the Demons moved to the new formation after a red card Friday sidelined senior Dylan Schwantes for Saturday's match. The rest of the Demons responded with one of their most dynamic first-half performances of the season.
"You get that first goal, and everybody feeds off of it," Wood said.
The second and third goals, he said, were the result of better timing on the attack by Ogier.
"(Friday), he overplayed his run. But (Saturday), he played great ... timed his run much better," Wood said.
"Friday, my timing was a little ... forced," the DHS senior said. "This time, I held a minute later, then made my run. It worked out."
On the first assist from Hubertus, Ogier said he couldn't decide if he should head the ball on net or if he had to boot it.
Instead, he used his chest to push the ball into the goal.
"(Saturday), we really picked it up," said Ogier, who credited Brown with a perfect setup on his second goal of the match.
"Our defense played solid," said Hubertus, echoing the words of his coach.
Five midfielders helped the defense and the offense, the DHS head coach said after the Demons picked up contributions from a crowd of players including Ian Bowers, Alfredo Mendoza, Julian Bransom, John Turner, Tayor Graham, Nick Carlson and assorted others.
Senior goalkeeper John Bernazzani provided the last line of defense for Durango and made a handful of saves against the Grand Junction attack.
"The boys showed they can compete at a high level," Wood said. "Now, we have to keep the intensity. We're in league now ... we've won three (league matches). And league is what it's all about."
The Demons are scheduled to play in Cortez on Tuesday. However, that match likely will be moved to Durango, Wood said.
Official word on the schedule change is expected today or Monday.