It is as big of an opening weekend of high school football as La Plata County could ask for. Two No. 1 teams in the state will visit.
It will be No. 1 versus No. 2 at 6 p.m. Friday night at the Durango High School stadium, at least as far as the MaxPreps.com rankings are concerned. It is the Class 3A No. 1 Pueblo South Colts that will ride into town. Then, at 1 p.m. Oct. 10, Class 2A No. 1 Delta will visit Wolverine Country Stadium to play the proud Bayfield Wolverines.
The matchups are as big as they come to open the six-game regular season with redrawn leagues after fall football was approved in September. It was originally suspended until spring because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams will have had only two weeks of official practice before the opener.
“When we start to play, we will forget all about all of the restrictions we’ve had all year and just go out and play and have fun,” Heide said. “We really look forward to it. We will realize how much we love playing this game.”
Pueblo South, the 2019 Class 3A state runner-up, will bring a team of 22 seniors to face the Demons.
“That’s a great team. You have to respect a team like that,” said DHS senior quarterback Jordan Woolverton. “I’m super excited to have them the first game of the season in a 1-2 matchup that is going to be a great game.”
DHS also returned nine starters on defense and nearly all of their skill players offensively minus 1,000-yard rusher Everett Howland. And though DHS lost left tackle Carver Willis to graduation and Kansas State, the Demons believe the line is even better this year with an average size of 240 pounds. Durango has the feeling of a well-prepared team.
They will have to be against the Colts, who beat DHS 21-14 in last year’s state quarterfinal after a wild 35-34 win for Pueblo South to win the league championship only a month earlier.
“Revenge,” DHS head coach David Vogt said. “We’ve never beaten them. Watching all the games we’ve played them, it’s been so close every game with them. Down to the last two minutes. We gotta take it this year.”
Bayfield High School is getting sharp in preparation to play the Delta Panthers, who return senior quarterback Nolan Bynum a year after he passed for 2,556 yards and 34 touchdowns to only seven interceptions while he also ran for nine scores and 329 more yards.
“It’s a big challenge for us, but I think it adds excitement to it,” BHS head coach Gary Heide said. “We can accomplish a lot of things right off the bat. If we play really well and come out with a victory, it will set the tone for the year and reinstate Bayfield football. We are hoping to get out there and play a great game and come out on a winning end. The guys are working hard and ready to go.”
Ignacio was slated to host Class 1A No. 4 Meeker in its season opener next weekend, too. But the game has been canceled. Meeker athletic director Klark Kindler said Ignacio athletic director Leo Garand told him Ignacio did not have enough eligible players to play.
While the Bobcats will be idle and now have only two home games this season, it will be a big welcome back to football for La Plata County next week.