The Durango High School football team started its 3A Southern League play Friday by shutting out the visiting Harrison Panthers, 42-0.
Durango led the game 14-0 before it offense even stepped on the field.
Tagert Bardin returned the opening kickoff for a touchdown, catching the ball at about the 20-yard line and sprinting 80 yards unscathed into the end zone.
Harrison’s picked up a first down and got into Demon territory on its opening drive. On fourth down, however, Ean Goodwin, intercepted a pass at the 30-yard line and returned it 70 yards for another Demons score.
“The kick return was great, and scoring on D was neat to see,” said DHS head coach Todd Casebier.
Durango’s offense then got in on the scoring action, finding the end zone on all four of its first-half possessions to take a 42-0 lead into halftime.
Zach Haber capped off a 10-play drive by rushing for a 7-yard touchdown with 59 seconds left in the first quarter.
Unfortunately for DHS, running back Nate Messier got hurt on the drive and did not return.
On Harrison’s next drive, Walter Stauffer chased down the quarterback and sacked him on third down to force a Panthers punt.
“I thought our defense did some good things, but it wasn’t great,” Casebier said. “It was average at times.”
On Durango’s next drive, Haber picked up a first down with a 13-yard run, Jordan Stanley busted free for a 29-yard scamper, and Jerich Baruch ran 10 yards to get a first down in Harrison’s red zone. Haber capped the drive with a 16-yard touchdown run.
A holding penalty negated a 58-yard Tyler Harms connection with Bardin on DHS’ next drive. Durango, however, still marched down the field, and Harms eventually tossed a 15-yard strike to JJ Hoerl for a touchdown, putting DHS up 35-0.
On the ensuing kickoff, Luke Wesley put his head on the ball and popped it loose while making a tackle and then recovered the ball for DHS.
Durango’s offense needed just one play to score as Harms hit Stanley in stride for a 40-yard touchdown pass to enact the running clock mercy rule with 4:30 left in the half.
Despite the lopsided score, the coach wasn’t totally happy with how the Demons played.
“I thought we played a little sluggish,” Casebier said.
Durango reached the red zone twice in the second half, but fumbled once at the goal line for a touchback on a Harrison recovery in the end zone.
On Durango’s next drive, Haber ran hard for 7 yards on fourth-and-4 to get the team a first-and-goal from the five.
Durango then put in its second-string offense, and after three penalties turned the ball over on downs.
With the win, DHS improved to 4-2 overall and 1-0 in the 3A Southern League.
Harrison slipped to 0-6, 0-1.
Next Friday, however, DHS will have a big game when it hosts Colorado Springs’ Discovery Canyon.
“It’s the game,” Casebier said. “Discovery Canyon has a very good program, so we have to be better. Every single thing we’ve worked on this season comes together next week.”
The Bayfield football team was also in action Friday, traveling to Alamosa to take on the Mean Moose with first place in the league standings on the line.
The Wolverines, however, managed to shut out Alamosa, 28-0, to improve to 4-1 overall and 2-0 in the 2A Southwest League. Alamosa slipped to 4-2, 1-1.
The Ignacio football, meanwhile, suffered its first loss of the season on Friday during its homecoming. Ignacio and Center were tied 7-7 at halftime, but Center pulled away to win the game, 32-13.