The No. 5 Durango High School boys soccer team took down No. 12 D’Evelyn 2-0 Wednesday in the second round of the class 4A state playoffs.
The Demons controlled the game with their passing and possession and started firing shots on goal almost immediately. DHS goalie Fred Reiter made a handful of saves and came out to knock some passes away, but only faced a few real threats.
“I think that was one of the most complete games we’ve played so far this year, and it was against a good team,” said DHS head coach Aaron Champenoy. “Defensively, we limited them to long-range chances. We did good in the midfield, and we did good exploiting diagonal balls.”
David Smagacz almost got DHS on the scoreboard in the eighth minute, but D’Evelyn’s goalie made a diving save to keep the contest scoreless. Durango had two more chances in the next minute. Then, after a good ball in, Sam Carozza got a close shot off, but the goalie was just able to deflect it wide.
At the 15-minute mark, Cedar Newman came off the bench and gave Durango an immediate spark.
“I was just thinking I need to bring some energy on the field,” Newman said. “We wanted some scoring opportunities, and I wanted to create them.”
Newman’s first shot hit the inside of the post and looked like it might bounce in the goal, but it was scooped up before it crossed the line.
“Cedar came in and made an immediate impact,” Champenoy said. “His effort was top-notch.”
In the 25th minute, Newman fired a long shot that the goalie was able to get a hand on, but the ball had enough steam to continue rolling into the net to give Durango a 1-0 lead.
“I beat a defender, saw an opening and figured I’d take a shot,” Newman said. “We knew their keeper struggles on cross bodies, so I figured I’d take a shot, and it paid off.”
Durango kept pressuring D’Evelyn but wasn’t able to score again in the half. Reiter also made a save in the 33rd minute to help Durango take a 1-0 lead into the break.
Just seven minutes into the second half, Durango scored an insurance goal when Micah Stahl assisted Newman on his second goal of the game.
“Micah and I have been playing together for years,” Newman said. “His ball couldn’t have been better. I just had to tap it in. ... That really secured our lead.”
The team’s captain, Ryan Bell, also continued his consistent play to help the Demons create good scoring chances down the stretch.
“Ryan Bell played an incredible game, opening up the game and getting balls in back behind them,” Champenoy said.
D’Evelyn took a few shots late in the game, but Reiter denied them.
“The team played a phenomenal game,” Newman said. “We all stepped up and did the job. Now we need to build on this momentum and hopefully go to the final four after (the quarterfinals).”
Durango will now play at No. 4 Denver North, last year’s state runner-up, in the quarterfinals at1 p.m. Saturday. Denver North beat No. 20 Palmer Ridge 1-0 in the second round Wednesday.
In the other quarterfinals, No. 1 Northfield will play No. 9 Golden, No. 2 Mullen will take on No. 7 Cheyenne Mountain, and No. 3 The Classical Academy will play No. 6 Battle Mountain.
“I couldn’t be happier for the guys,” Champenoy said, noting that 2016 was the last time Durango reached the quarterfinals. “We have a big test at Denver North next. We’ll have to go on the road and see if we can do it again. I’m just really, really proud of the guys.”