Steve Lewis/Durango Herald
Cooper Stowers’ declaration that the Demons were, no questions about it, headed for victory Saturday might have raised a few eyebrows and a few coaches’ heart rates given the team’s 1-6 record.
Nothing to worry about.The Durango High School boys lacrosse team handled Pueblo West 15-9 on Saturday at DHS Stadium, notching its second victory of the season and the first of what Stowers and his teammates plan to make an eight-game streak.“Spread that fire I was talking about (Friday),” Stowers said.
“A spark for the rest of the season.”
Keep the declarations coming.
Jared Cook certainly went up in flames.
The junior attacker scored seven goals Saturday, finally breaking out as the goal scorer that coach John Robinette has been looking for.He’d already tallied a hat trick to put the Demons up 5-2 to end the first quarter, scoring three consecutive goals on assists from Liam Millar, including the best goal of the day – from Cook to Millar and back to Cook as the pair bolted in transition, shaking the defenders and abusing Pueblo West goalkeeper Trevor Emond.Six of Cook’s seven goals were assisted, making up the bulk of Durango’s eight assisted goals – tangible proof that the Demons executed their set plays as designed and reaped the benefits.“It’s absolutely crucial. We need those,” Cook said of the helpers. “In my opinion, the assist is just as important as the goal.”Millar had four assists and a goal, Trevor Gabbard scored three goals, and Duncan Whitley had two assists and a goal.
Durango led 8-3 at the halfway mark and opened up as large as a 12-3 lead in the third quarter, a run ignited by Jacob Boyle’s goal seven seconds into the game.Boyle won the faceoff and bulled straight down the field to score seven seconds into the half.“He was a beast,” Robinette said.And not just on that goal. Boyle won five of seven faceoffs, contributing a lopsided 20-7 differential in faceoff wins for Durango that allowed them to dominate possession and create scoring chances.Patrick Cunnion won the other 15 out of 20 tries.
“If I had to give one game ball to anybody, it would be him,” Robinette said.
Most of the Demons’ lost faceoffs came in the final 15 minutes of play, when their fire burned through some of its heat.
“I felt like we lost some of our momentum – not all of it,” Cook said.
The Cyclones whipped through four consecutive goals to pull within 12-6 midway through the third quarter.
Mak Kovak and Cody Krans, who capped the run, led the Cyclones with two goals each.
“As a team, at times, we kinda slowed down and got comfortable with the lead,” DHS keeper Walker Brown said.
He was the victim of some of that slow play, as mental lapses here and there led to a handful of open shots for the Cyclones. Brown saved six shots in the first half and four in the second, allowing six goals in the final two quarters. Pueblo West’s Emond also saved six and four, respectively.“It’s more relaxed than anything,” Brown said. “You just got to relax and watch the ball.”
He made the saves he needed to make, Robinette said.
And the Demons held on to the lead that they needed to pick up a big moral victory after six consecutive losses at the hands of the Mountain League’s best.
DHS slowed down play for the final 12 minutes, allowing Cook to score once more, this one assisted by Whitley, and they held on for the final margin.
“Ah, man, I’m so happy for these guys – all the hard work they’ve been putting in,” Robinette said.
“I wasn’t smiling at halftime; I wasn’t smiling at the end of the third quarter. I told them, ‘I’ll be smiling at the end of the game, if we get a W.’”
Durango (2-6, 0-6 Mountain League) will host league rival Telluride at 4 p.m. Tuesday at DHS.