The Durango High School boys soccer team needed a win Saturday to have a chance to win the 5A/4A Southwestern League championship. Max Wilson scored two first-half goals, and the Demons held on for the needed 2-1 win against rival Montrose.
Wilson scored in the fourth minute and again in the 35th. Montrose received a goal in the final minutes off a penalty kick by Sean Alex, and the Demons survived a late flurry by the Indians to hold on for the win.
DHS is now 9-2-2 overall this season and 5-1-1 in league games. The league record matches Grand Junction’s, but the Demons have a tiebreaker against the Tigers if the two teams finish the league schedule with matching records. Both teams have one league game remaining against Grand Junction Central. The Tigers will play the Warriors on Wednesday, and DHS will host the Warriors on Friday.
Durango’s home win Saturday against Montrose (9-2-2, 3-1-2 SWL) came on week after a 3-0 home win against Grand Junction.
“We’re confident,” Wilson said. “If we play the way we played the last two games next week, we should be alright and win league. The last couple of games we’ve played well and have done exactly what we’ve been trying to do all season. It’s good to win these last two games, which were supposed to be the two hardest of the season.”
Wilson and Lance Townsend played a two-man game to set up Wilson’s first goal. With three defenders and the goalkeeper to beat, a perfect pass from Townsend led Wilson onto goal. The Montrose goalkeeper charged off his line, and instead of shooting Wilson took another touch on the ball and navigated around the keeper to get in front of a wide-open goal. He took a crack with his right foot and sent a blast into the net.
“I saw (the goalkeeper) coming out pretty fast and thought it would be harder to shoot it past him,” Wilson said. “I took a small touch by him and was gone. I was pretty happy. This was our big game, so it felt good to score early.”
Wilson added another score before halftime with a strong wind at the Demons’ back. Montrose then controlled play for stretches in the second half and tried to send long passes toward the Durango goal. The wind helped those long passes, but the Demons’ back line was there to deflect dangerous shots away from goal, and DHS goalkeeper Trey Furnas was in position.
A penalty in the box gave the Indians a penalty kick. Alex fired a shot to the left post as Furnas dove right. The score came with the clock stopped with 2 minutes to play, and the referee gave Montrose a good chunk of stoppage time to try to find an equalizing goal, but the Demons prevailed.
“Bodies in front of goal,” Wilson said of his thoughts during those final moments. “They were pushing a lot harder than us. We were sitting back hoping they wouldn’t score. We held out, but it was scary a few times.”
Durango will host Grand Junction Central at 2:45 p.m. Friday and then will await its state playoff seeding the following Sunday.