Durango High School felt it had a golden opportunity to win its first boys lacrosse state tournament game Wednesday. Conifer had other ideas.
The No. 12 Demons traveled to face the No. 5 Conifer Lobos in the first round of the Colorado High School Activities Association Class 4A Boys Lacrosse State Championships. With a team that set new heights in 2017 with 12 wins and the program’s first win against Aspen only four days earlier, the Demons were confident going into the game.
But that confidence dwindled with each goal the Lobos scored. Durango (12-4) went down 4-1 early and trailed 6-2 after one quarter. The second quarter was all Conifer (13-3), as the Lobos took a 12-2 lead into halftime. It only got worse from there for Durango in a 25-2 loss to end the season.
“We were outmatched,” DHS head coach John Robinette said. “They were good; best team we’ve seen all year. We didn’t do ourselves any favors with a lot of turnovers. We really felt we had a good chance to win this game. To see it kind of go away with each goal scored and realize it wasn’t going to happen, it hurt.”
A methodical Conifer attack disoriented the Demons’ defense. Out of the 25 goals Conifer scored, Robinette said 17 or 18 were assisted.
“We didn’t have an answer for it,” he said. “We started to get down. We’ve been ahead all of the games we’ve won this year and never trailed. The three losses we had, we were ahead at one point. To dig a big hole like that, we never recovered.”
Cullen Robinette and Tommy Rodgers each had one goal for Durango. Assists went to Dillon Coleman and Kyle Robinette.
Kyle Robinette led Class 4A in goals and totaled a whopping 108 points in the regular season. The senior had 12 ground balls and won 9-of-12 faceoffs.
Coach Robinette called a timeout with 1 minute, 9 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. He put in all 10 seniors to go out together one last time. They are a group of players who established a legacy at DHS and gave the underclassmen a tradition to carry on and push forward.
The Demons have taken strides each season and are still working to catch up to the Front Range teams that have been playing the sport at a varsity level far longer than Durango. “This one game doesn’t define this team or season,” coach Robinette said. “Nobody will take away our 12 wins, the win against Aspen. Coaching these guys has been everything for me. I’ve coached (Kyle Robinette) since fourth grade. Watching the boys all grow and develop and come together and have it culminate with this season, I’m super proud of these boys.”
“The younger kids look up to them, we’ve had former players reaching out wishing us good luck and following us. It’s nice to know we’ve made an impact on a lot of these kids and that they’ve been part of something bigger than themselves. I want to continue building the youth program, get more kids playing the game and into the pipeline to grow the sport here.”