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Durango hosting key league game Friday

Demons set to battle Discovery Canyon for league lead
Ean Goodwin of Durango High School scores on a pick-six against Harrison High School last week to start league play. The Demons have big league game Friday when they host Discovery Canyon. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

The Durango High School football team will play its toughest home game of the season at 6 p.m. Friday when it welcomes 3A Southern League foe Discovery Canyon to town.

“The winner of this game has an excellent chance to be league champions,” said DHS head coach Todd Casebier.

Colorado Springs’ Discovery Canyon will bring a 3-3 overall and 1-0 league record into Durango. Like the Demons (4-2, 1-0), whose two losses have come against top-ranked teams, Discovery Canyon’s three losses have been against teams ranked No. 4 or higher: Pine Creek (4A No. 3), Mead (3A No. 2) and Fort Morgan (3A No. 4).

‘They’ve played in my opinion the toughest schedule in 3A,“ Casebier said.

Durango’s two losses have been to Colorado’s No. 1 team in Class 4A, Montrose, and the No. 1 team in New Mexico’s Class 5A, Farmington.

“Those losses don’t hurt us if we can win this game,” Casebier said.

The team, however, did learn from the losses.

“It’s a new year and a new team so we’ve got to find our strengths and come together,” said senior Will Knight. “We can’t ride our championship from last year. We have to do it this year and we have to do the work.”

Casebier said three keys for the team Friday will be taking care of the football, keeping Discovery Canyon from getting big plays and making them earn everything, and finishing drives on offense.

“We’ll have to find a way to win the game in the fourth quarter,” Casebier said. “That’s what it’s going to come down to.”

“We just have to play Demon football,” Knight said. “I think they’ll give us a game. They’ve played a tough schedule and been challenged like us ... we just have to play tougher and nastier.”

Trailing Durango and Discovery Canyon in the 3A Southern League are Sierra (1-5, 1-0), Sand Creek (3-3, 0-1) Mitchell (0-5, 0-1) and Harrison (0-6, 0-1). Discovery Canyon beat Sand Creek 52-8 last week, and Durango shut out Harrison 42-0.

“Personally, I think it would be great to win the league; we haven’t done that in a few years,” Knight said. “We expect more than that from ourselves; our sights are still set on a championship. How many teams get a chance to repeat? We have high aspirations.”

A win Friday, however, would be a big step toward those larger goals.

“We need Durango here; come support us and be loud and proud,” Casebier said. “We’re excited to play a big game in front of our home crowd against a good opponent.”