The No. 5-ranked Durango Demon boys soccer team started strong and finished strong to beat Grand Junction Central 8-1 on Thursday.
“I thought we started the game strong and got three quick goals, then we got complacent,” said DHS head coach Aaron Champenoy. “I didn’t feel we stayed at a high level the whole first half.”
Durango put two shots on goal in the first 90 seconds of the game, and in the fifth minute got on the scoreboard when Ryan Bell made a beautiful pass into the box. Sam Carozza found the ball at the other end and scored on a one-timer to put DHS up 1-0.
Less than two minutes later, Teryk Webber caught Central’s goalie out of position and floated a shot over his head and in for a 2-0 lead.
DHS got another score in the 26th minute when Central scored on itself. The score stayed that way until the last minute of the half with Central’s goalie making some diving stops and a leaping save.
“Their goalkeeper is tremendous and kept them in the game,” Champenoy said.
Owen Carozza, however, scored right before halftime, receiving a pass deep and beating the goalie up close to put DHS up 4-0.
In the second half, Central took advantage of a bad pass back to get on the board 4-1.
Defensively, “I thought we did really well; we had one miscommunication, and they punished us,” Champenoy said. “We went to sleep a little and got counterattacked, but it woke us up.”
Defenders Gates Linney, Zak Wentworth and Harrison Beattie kept Central from getting any other shot on goal during the contest.
Durango responded with four goals in the final 28 minutes of the game, including one less than a minute after Central scored.
Sam Carozza had a goal waved off 10 minutes into the half after he collided with the goalie. Right after Central scored, however, he kicked the ball around the goalie, but got grabbed going for it, and David Smagacz kicked it in the net. That goal was also waved off, but Sam Carozza capitalized on the ensuing penalty kick, burying a shot on the backup keeper to put DHS up 5-1.
Micah Stahl then got on the board, dribbling through several defenders to get an open look and score.
Smagacz drew a penalty with 13 minutes left and Beattie scored on the penalty kick.
Then, with just under 10 minutes left in the game, Bell received a pass deep and buried a hard shot for the final margin.
Although the Demons showed plenty of bright flashes, the coach hopes for more consistency down the stretch.
“I’d like to see more of an 80-minute performance,” Champenoy said. “That’s what it’s going to take.”
The coach also said Cedar Newman and Niko Korte had good games and it was unfortunate none of their shots scored.
DHS improved to 8-0-2 overall and 3-0-2 in the 5A/4A Southwestern League with the win. Central slipped to 3-3, 0-3.
The Demons will next play Grand Junction (6-4, 4-1) Oct. 2 at DHS.