As far as bounceback years go, a team could do a lot worse than 8-2, state ranked, undefeated at home and a trip back to the playoffs.
The No. 7 Durango High School football team did just that in 2013, capping its regular season with a stellar defensive showing in a 42-0 win over Montezuma-Cortez on Friday at DHS Stadium.
After missing the playoffs a season ago, the Demons would appear to be in good shape for a home game in the first round of the playoffs after entering the week fourth in Class 4A playoff points. The win over the 3-7 Panthers from Class 3A won’t help much, but it shouldn’t drop Durango too far, either. The Demons went 5-0 at home this year.
Durango proved too much for Cortez to handle, both physically and in terms of sheer numbers; the Panthers dressed just 21 players Friday night.
Defensively, the Demons forced a pair of turnovers and held Cortez to just 19 yards of total offense. Bad snaps and sacks moved the Panthers back on several occasions, and only DHS turnovers and penalties aided the Panthers’ ability to move the ball.
It was Durango’s first shutout since a 30-0 win over Kirtland Central last September.
“We got a great defensive scheme in, and the kids just followed it to a T and ran it to perfection,” DHS head coach David Vogt said. “We’ve been studying a lot of film, and the boys knew what plays they were going to run, and they just executed and got off blocks.”
When the Panthers did find some room, they were done in by untimely drops, particularly on an option pass by wide receiver Ryan Gurney that looked to be a potential touchdown until it was dropped. Cortez also missed a 38-yard field goal attempt as time expired in the first half.
Overall, the Panthers completed just 1-of-15 passes for minus-5 yards, while Randy Haley led the rushing effort with 59 yards.
Offensively, Durango used a potent ground game to rack up 355 yards as part of a 435-yard output in total offense.
Lawrence Mayberry led the way with 145 rushing yards and a pair of touchdowns, while quarterback Jeremy Szura ran for a score. Shane Bisogno added 81 yards on the ground.
“We had some great blocking out there,” said Bisogno, son of Arlene and Joe Bisogno. “It’s really good to run behind (fullback) Isiah (Mayberry).”
Running back David Logan appeared to hurt either his hip or his thigh in the first half but returned to action soon after. But in what would appear to be a precautionary measure, he sat out the second half.
Szura threw for 80 yards on 5-of-9 passing, including a 13-yard touchdown pass to Blake Dunlap in the first half.
DHS opened the scoring on its first possession on Mayberry’s 5-yard touchdown run, then scored on its next drive on the Szura-Dunlap connection.
Isiah Mayberry’s 2-yard touchdown run gave DHS a 21-0 lead at the half, and Durango added touchdown runs by Lawrence Mayberry, Szura and Steele Spies in the second half.
The Demons have some kinks to work out heading into the postseason, however:
Szura was intercepted three times Friday night.
DHS lost three more fumbles for six total turnovers.
Some dropped passes were sprinkled in on offense, too.
Though the defense refused to allow any points off the Demons’ miscues.
“We just need to focus really hard in practice and be really intense in our practice, and that’ll show in our games,” Bisogno said.
Despite a few mistakes, Vogt said he’s confident in his team and coaching staff to get the squad sharp before the playoffs.
“Just back to the basics again, and we’ll start over from scratch,” Vogt said. “And we’ll coach them up. We have a great coaching staff, so we’ll make all the proper corrections. I mean, 42-0 still. We’ll take that.”
The Class 4A playoff bracket will be announced Sunday. If DHS were to host, it would be their first home playoff game since a second-round contest in 2000, according to DHS assistant coach Mike Jaramillo.
DHS beat No. 1 Hinkley 31-28, then lost to Broomfield 41-21.