Rivalry games return for the Durango Demons in 2018, and Durango High School will play host to three marquee games without having to travel in the month of September.
A home-heavy slate for the DHS football team is a welcome sight a year after the Demons had to play four consecutive road games in the middle of the season. A year ago, the Demons played to an 8-4 overall record and 4-1 mark in the Class 3A South Central League. The team upset Cañon City in the opening round of the playoffs with a lopsided 49-21 victory before losing an incredible back-and-forth game at home against Erie in the quarterfinals. Erie went on to finish as the state runner-up after a 46-21 loss to Palmer Ridge in the title game.
Of Durango’s 10 regular-season opponents in 2018, six finished with winning records. Those opponents combined to go 68-46 overall, and two won state championships, as Bayfield went 13-0 to claim the Class 2A title and Pueblo South went 13-1 en route to the Class 4A state championship before moving down to Class 3A for the 2018-19 cycle.
Durango’s first five opponents of this season combined to go 44-15 last season, making the non-conference slate this year a tough task.
It will all get started at 7 p.m. Aug. 24 for the Demons with a road trip to Class 2A Pagosa Springs, which went 6-4 last season and reached the state playoffs.
Durango will then stay on the road to face Western Slope League power Palisade at 7 p.m. Aug. 30, a Thursday night game, giving the Demons two games in six days to open the season. Last year, the Bulldogs went 10-3 and reached the state semifinals before a 28-14 loss to Palmer Ridge.
Then, Durango will get four consecutive home games instead of four in a row on the road. The rivalry showdown with Montrose is back for the first time since 2015, when Durango won 36-35 at Montrose. Last year, the Indians went 7-4 and suffered a first-round playoff loss to Pueblo South.
Revenge will be on the minds of the Demons at 7 p.m. Sept. 14, as the Bayfield Wolverines will come to town. Last year, Bayfield won on its home field in the cross-county showdown. The 20-13 victory was the Wolverines’ first in school history against the Demons’ varsity team. Still, Durango is 14-1-1 all-time against the Wolverines.
The Farmington Scorpions will visit Durango at 7 p.m. Sept. 21 for the final non-conference game of the year. Last year, the Scorpions went 8-4 before a 47-22 semifinal loss to eventual state champion Artesia.
Durango will then have a bye to prepare for the start of league.
South Central League play will look different for Durango this year. Exit Colorado Springs-based Harrison and Sierra and enter last year’s Class 4A state champion Pueblo South and Pueblo Centennial. Durango is the only non-Pueblo team in the league, and the Demons will commute nearly six hours by bus for each road league contest.
DHS will open league at home at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 against Pueblo Centennial, which went 1-9 last season. Then it’s a road trip for a 1 p.m. Saturday contest Oct. 13 at Pueblo Central, which was 2-8 a year ago.
Then the league really gets competitive when Pueblo South rolls into Durango for a 6 p.m. Oct. 19 kickoff. The Eagles decimated opponents last year before beating Pine Creek 25-14 in the state title game. The team’s lone loss was a 55-54 double overtime thriller against Pueblo West, which remained in Class 4A.
After getting a shot at the defending 4A champions, Durango will host Pueblo County at 6 p.m. Oct. 26. Pueblo County went 3-7 a year ago. The Demons will close the regular season at 7 p.m. Nov. 2 at Pueblo East, which went 5-6 last season.
Official practices will begin Monday for the Demons, who return exciting sophomore quarterback Jordan Woolverton along with a host of high-caliber wide receivers as well as dynamic running backs in Dawson Marcum and Everett Howland. Durango once again will look to contend in the Class 3A state playoffs.