All that work on the little things paid off in a big way for the Durango High School football team in its home opener Friday.
Durango jumped all over the visitors from Kirtland Central from the start in a dominating defensive performance, and the offense and special teams held up their end of the bargain in the Demons’ 30-0 whitewash of the Broncos on Friday night at DHS Stadium.
Although Kirtland Central didn’t have quite the offensive skill of Cheyenne Mountain, which topped DHS 48-9 last week, it still was apparent that Durango’s defense upped the ante Friday night. The Broncos mustered only an unofficial 115 yards of total offense, and Durango sacked Broncos’ quarterback Rashaan Sorrelhorse three times, and Kirtland Central punted a total of 10 times.
The secret ingredient for the DHS defense was getting back to sound assignment football, which helped the Demons avoid biting on the counters and fakes the run-heavy Broncos threw at them most of the evening.
“We worked extremely hard this week on tackling and the fundamentals of the game, and it seemed to show. We had great energy,” DHS head coach Greg Wyatt said.
Offensively, running back Tyler Worley carried the water for a potent DHS attack running for 134 yards, including 102 in the third quarter alone, a touchdown and a two-point conversion – which DHS heavily relied on with kicker/receiver/defensive back Blake Dunlap out with an injury.
Lucas Sinnig, DHS’s chest-thumping hype man, added another 51 yards on the ground as the Demons pounded away at a Kirtland Central defense that seemed to tire against the uptempo Demons’ offense and a rejuvenated offensive line.
“Hitting the holes goes all to the coaches drilling us and drilling us on that, and we just had the intensity to keep our legs going,” said Sinnig, son of Roxanna and Steve Sinnig.
Alex Lavenue got the start at quarterback and was impressive in stretches, completing 12 of 25 passes for 120 yards, a touchdown and an interception.
“He made some nice throws. He commanded the offense,” Wyatt said.
Both Garrett Marcum and Justin Marcum were key in the passing game for the Demons. Garrett Marcum had four catches for 49 yards, including a nice leaping grab over a defender for 22 yards, while Justin Marcum hauled in four passes for 50 yards, including a 35-yard reception.
Durango (1-1) got things rolling early, forcing a quick three-and-out before Lavenue guided an impressive drive which ended in an interception.
DHS got the ball back and eventually capped an eight-play drive when Lavenue called his own number on an option keeper and scored from 14 yards out, hitting Lane Joseph for the two-point conversion to put DHS up 8-0.
The Demons wasted little time on their second drive of the game, using just three plays to go 45 yards, capped with a Lavenue pass to Joseph from six yards out and a Worley two-point plunge to push the lead to 16-0 late in the first quarter.
Worley rang the bell for the first time on special teams, taking a punt 83 yards nearly untouched for a score and a 22-0 lead early in the second quarter, a lead the Demons would take into the locker room at intermission.
Worley capped the scoring with 11 seconds left in the third quarter. He scampered in from three yards out for the touchdown, then did the same thing for the two-point conversion and the final 30-0 margin.
It wasn’t all roses for Durango, however. Wyatt said he’s hoping to get more out of his red-zone offense, which sputtered a bit after halftime thanks mostly to some untimely penalties to go with Lavenue’s first-half pick.
“It’s one more thing that we’ve got to keep working on and keep improving, and we will,” Wyatt said.
The penalties were the biggest area of concern for DHS, particularly several offsides calls and the untimely infractions in the red zone. Sinnig said fixing those issues is a matter of the mind.
“We’ve just got to sit down, calm down; we probably just got too excited,” said Sinnig, who had one of DHS’s three sacks.
Kirtland Central’s Jerrid Smith, whom Sinnig wished a speedy recovery on behalf of his teammates, left the game in the fourth quarter in an ambulance but did not appear to be wearing a neck brace. His status is unknown.
Junior quarterback Jeremy Szura played one series in the second half before giving the reins back to Lavenue.