The Durango High School boys soccer team needed a win to capture the 5A/4A Southwestern League title, and the Demons provided with a dominant performance against Grand Junction Central.
Durango wasted little time taking complete control of the match and poured in six goals in the first half on its way to a 10-0 victory Friday afternoon at DHS.
Durango senior Max Wilson had a day to remember and recorded four goals in his final regular season game at home.
“This victory is a good one for sure because it determined the league title, but we went in pretty confident,” Wilson said. “We’re definitely happy about it, but I think we were a lot happier with the Grand Junction game and the Montrose game because those were the two hardest we were expecting to have in the season.”
Durango (10-2-2, 6-1-1 SWL) and Grand Junction finished 6-1-1 in league play. The two teams split their two matches this season, but the Demons won the tiebreaker for the league title on goal differential in head-to-head matches with the Tigers after outscoring them 3-1. It’s Durango’s fourth consecutive league title.
Wilson scored the first two goals of the match while putting constant pressure on the Warriors’ (1-14-0, 0-8-0 SWL) back line. His first goal came in the fifth minute, and his second was in the 12th.
On his second goal, the Grand Junction Central keeper stopped Wilson’s initial shot but couldn’t maintain control of the ball, which rolled behind him. Wilson, who was between the ball and the net, took a few quick steps to get back to the ball before the Warriors could clear it and used his back heel to put the ball into the open net.
His third goal came in the opening minute of the second half and he added his fourth about 10 minutes later.
Wilson and the Demons’ success was the culmination of what the team had been working on in practice the past couple weeks.
“As far as our attack, we have been constantly working on combinations and getting behind the lines to show the boys what we need to do to be successful,” Durango head coach Dalon Parker said. “The cool thing about this group, and really for the past four or five years, for us coaches has been being able to come out and put some things down in a (practice) session and see them come out and do it (in a match). I think this year was the first time I haven’t had to stand on the sideline and yell back and forth with them because they understand it.”
Lance Townsend had two goals in the first half. The first came when a long throw from the right side in the 21st minute found him near the right post and he headed the ball in.
The second goal came in the 34th minute when his shot slipped through a few defenders and banked off the right post for the goal.
Cole Alexus and Leland Heinicke added the other two goals of the first half with scores in the 23rd and 29th minutes, respectively.
Senior Eli Fenton scored with 27 minutes left in the second half after he chipped the ball over the keeper, gathered and tapped the ball into the empty net.
Jack Beatie added the 10th and final goal with 12 minutes remaining in the match.
The Demons now shift their focus to the 4A playoffs and will learn their seed when the brackets are revealed Sunday. Durango is currently ranked third in the Colorado High School Activity Association’s RPI rankings, but Parker said he expects the Demons to fall out of the three seed and isn’t sure where they’ll end up.
“We’re a seed higher than I thought we would be. We’re three right now, and I’m just bamboozled,” he said. “Now, maybe we’ll get the six or seven or eight. We have no idea now. I just know this team is prepared for whatever seed we do get. I know they’ll go out and give it their best effort that they possibly can. They’re prepared to win.”