As if the 2009 Durango High School football team needed to give Santa any more reminders, they were very, very good
Six-foot-four junior Avery Llewellyn made The Denver Post's Class 4A all-state team as a punter, with senior Gus
Barnes - the Southwestern League's Defensive Player of the Year - receiving honorable mention for his duties at
Barnes, named to the Southwestern League's all-conference offensive team as a running back and defensive team as a
defensive back, will play in an all-star game in Greeley this June that features players from all divisions in
It's a big deal," DHS first-year head coach Greg Wyatt said of the Class 5A track star's appearance on that stage.
Llewellyn, one of only two SWL players selected to the first team (the other was Montrose senior and SWL Offensive
Player of the Year Jordan Passehl - on defense, no less) averaged more than 39 yards per punt and was a key factor in
the team's success this season, Wyatt said.
The Demons, who started 8-0 and lost in the first round of the Class 4A playoffs to an experienced Pine Creek team
that made the state playoffs five consecutive years, gave out some awards of their own when more than 250 people
showed up to a ceremonial banquet earlier this month.
The La Plata County Fairgrounds were decorated by the team's moms, and teary-eyed players watched a highlight video
and said goodbye to the team's many seniors before Wyatt gave away three honors he hopes will become Durango
Barnes was handed the team's Ironman Award for never coming off the field," in work on offense, defense and special
Senior quarterback Jordan Gillen was given the team's Captain Award for leading the team back from a winless 2008 to
an 8-3 record his senior year.
And a player with less decorations and far less playing time, senior wide receiver Ben Swaggerty, was presented with
the award Wyatt said he considers most important: the Jerry Martinez Community Spirit Award.
Swaggerty got the nod for his outstanding work in the classroom and as a youth leader on a mission to Africa last
Not that DHS needed any more recognitions.
Senior tight end Dillon Lammon, senior nose guard Bob Lovett, junior linebacker Nico Rodriguez, and Llewellyn also
made the all-conference team, with Gillen and senior defensive back Kaelen Waters earning honorable mentions.
That was one goal we had, to get six guys all-league," said Wyatt, who hangs a board inside the Demons' locker room
with a spreadsheet of the team's season aims.
DHS will need some help to meet that goal two years in a row, as Rodriguez is the only other award winner who'll
rejoin Llewellyn with the Demons next year.
He's the focal point of the defense," Wyatt said of the team's leading tackler in 2009.
Gillen and Lammon were selected as alternates in the all-state game Barnes will play in.
Not to be outdone by his pupils, Wyatt, the Denver Broncos Prep Coach of the Week earlier this season, was named the
SWL's co-coach of the year along with Montrose coach Todd Casebier.
They're the team to beat, until somebody knocks them off," Wyatt said of Casebier's squad, downplaying the apparent
coaching award snubbing and adding, the league will be much improved next year."