Dawson Marcum and the Durango Demons took the sting out of the Farmington Scorpions early Friday night, as all phases of the game clicked for Durango High School.
Behind 156 first-half rushing yards from Marcum and stifling defense that held Farmington to less than 100 yards of total offense in the first half, the Demons (3-2) took a 26-0 lead into halftime against the visiting Scorpions (2-3). The onslaught continued in the second half, as DHS secured a 45-0 victory.
“It’s pretty fun,” Marcum said. “I don’t mean to be rude, but it kind of gets boring because then (the coaches) start taking you out, but you gotta get the little guys reps. It was a heck of a game on both sides of the ball and a great way to go into the bye week and get ready for Pueblo Centennial.”
The Demon defense scored two touchdowns of their own, forced seven punts and allowed the Scorpions across midfield only twice all night, with both of those drives ending in turnovers.
“I am very impressed with the whole defense,” said DHS junior linebacker Everett Howland, who had a sack and a forced fumble. “First string, second string, everyone has stepped up in practice, and everyone is grinding every day and doing their best and doing it right down to the simple things. That’s what coach wants, and it works.”
Marcum finished with 197 rushing yards and three total touchdowns. He marched through the Scorpions defense untouched on a pair of touchdown runs in the first half that set the tone for the game. He also gave the Demons a 45-0 lead at the end of the third quarter with a 75-yard interception return for a touchdown.
“If he was my fantasy running back, he would’ve had 60 points tonight,” DHS head coach David Vogt said. “He’s super special. The offensive line also did a great job, and they’ve been working hard, coming in the morning at 6 o’clock two days a week to put in extra work, and that’s showing off. The coaches have done a really great job.”
DHS sophomore quarterback Jordan Woolverton didn’t have to throw much, but he helped get the team started by going 4-for-5 for 60 yards to start the game. He also had an 11-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. Woolverton would leave the game briefly to start the third quarter. He was on the receiving end of a vicious helmet-to-helmet hit on the final play of the first half, as he tried to send a deep pass down the field. There was no penalty on the play, and the Demons were flagged for a 15-yard penalty going into the locker room as the Demons’ coaches begged for the refs to protect their quarterback.
“We thought there should have been maybe two called that game,” Vogt said. “Half of that is on the coaching and us calling that play and putting him in that position.”
Farmington didn’t pick up its initial first down until there were two minutes left in the first quarter. The team’s best drive of the half quickly ended after two first downs, as sophomore quarterback Corbin Castelli couldn’t handle a shotgun snap. By the time he corralled it, Howland was in his face to force a fumble that Gus Kidd would recover on the Farmington 48.
Woolverton quickly found Breyton Jackson on a 30-yard deep pass, On the first play of the second quarter, Howland would cap off the drive with a 2-yard touchdown run that gave the Demons a 20-0 lead.
Marcum had touchdown runs of 37 and 31 yards in the first half.
Durango constantly had good field position in the first half. Four times the Demons started across midfield into Scorpion territory, twice thanks to big punt returns from Alex Hise and Gage Mestas. On the other side, Farmington twice started inside its own 5-yard line and never had better starting position than its own 20.
FHS was held to 36 rushing yards in the first half, while Castelli went 7-of-14 passing for 49 yards. He was sacked once by Durango’s Alex Finneseth. Castelli finished the game 8-of-22 passing for 62 yards, an interception and two fumbles lost.
“Durango beat us, more than anything,” FHS head coach Jeff Dalton said. “They had a great game plan. They saw us run the ball well the last two weeks, and coach Vogt does a really good job putting kids in position. That was probably the strongest and fastest kids we’ve played against this year so far. It’s kind of a different level for us. We need to learn from that and step up and just get better.”
When Woolverton exited the game, freshman Jordan Stanley entered. He showed no fear, as he ran for 21 yards on his first offensive play. He and Marcum marched the Demons down the field 66 yards, and Howland punched in a touchdown run from 1 yard out to give the Demons a 32-0 lead.
“Jordan Stanley did a great job, drove us down the field right away on the first drive and did awesome,” Marcum said.
Woolverton came back into the game with a little more than seven minutes to play in the third quarter after he passed the concussion protocol. He didn’t have to do much the rest of the night, though.
Two plays after Howland’s touchdown, Castelli again couldn’t bring in a shotgun snap, and Jackson smothered him. The DHS junior scooped up the loose ball and returned it 15 yards for a Demons defensive touchdown. Woolverton made the extra point, and the Demons led 39-0 with 6:30 to play in the third quarter.
A Colby Basye sack for Durango quickly ended Farmington’s drive hopes, and the Scorpions punted for a sixth time in the game.
FHS would put together its best drive of the game in the final minutes of the third quarter, as the Scorpions crossed midfield for only the second time all night. But Marcum would intercept a short Castelli pass and run 75 yards for a touchdown to give the Demons a 45-0 lead and start the mercy-rule running clock with the Demons up 40-plus points.
“I kind of baited him and he called it,” Marcum said. “I saw him look right at my receiver and they both nodded to each other. I knew it was gonna be a quick pass to him, and I just went for it.”
Durango’s defense got another stop, and all the young players came on to play the fourth quarter. Ben Finneseth, a sophomore, showed some power at running back, and Stanley continued to lead the offense with confidence until the clock ran out.
“Durango has some weapons,” Dalton said. “Tonight, I don’t think they even used some of them. Alex Hise is probably the fastest kid in the area and didn’t get a lot of touches tonight. Jordan (Woolverton), Mr. Marcum, they were the dual threat tonight and picked us apart a bit.”
Durango, now winners of two consecutive games, will have a bye week before it will host Pueblo Centennial at 6 p.m. Oct. 5 on homecoming night for the Demons. It will be the team’s fourth consecutive home game and the Class 3A South Central League opener for DHS.
“I think we prepared well for this week and will keep continuing into league this way,” Marcum said.