There is an overwhelming sentiment amongst the Durango High School football team when it comes to Piedra Vista.
“We’re super hungry for them. We owe them one,” Durango head coach David Vogt said after last Friday’s game.
It all stems from a 14-8 loss in Farmington to the Panthers a year ago for the Demons. Durango had several chances for big plays but came up short on all but one drive.
Both teams have come a long way since that game at Hutchison Stadium a year ago. Both will enter the game with 2-0 records coming off impressive victories to open the season.
Durango blasted Piedra Vista’s New Mexico Class 5A rival Aztec in a 53-14 rout. Piedra Vista climbed from No. 5 to No. 3 in the New Mexico Class 5A rankings with a 34-16 home win against previous No. 3 and perennial state-title contender Goddard of Roswell.
“It was a big win. Goddard is a powerhouse and a model of how to do things,” Piedra Vista head coach Jared Howell said Thursday in a phone interview with The Durango Herald. “They’re tough and make you earn every yard and defend every yard. When you think of high school football in New Mexico, they’re one of the teams you think of first.”
But now all the focus is on this week’s matchup, with two dual-threat quarterbacks leading their respective teams.
It’s senior Terrence Trujillo commanding the Demons. He had a five-touchdown game with two rushing scores and three passing last week against Aztec. The week before, Trujillo had three passing touchdowns. He has found senior receiver Lucas Baken on three of his six passing touchdowns this season.
Lawrence Mayberry, a senior running back, has rushed for 100 yards in consecutive games to go with three rushing touchdowns and one receiving score.
The Panthers’ offense has been led by junior quarterback Elijah Gamboa, who has rushed for 226 yards and two touchdowns.
“He’s a good dual-threat guy with his legs, and he can throw. He’s a tough runner, so it’s nice to have both of those aspects,” said Howell, who’s typically had a dual-threat athlete behind center with the Panthers.
Fullback Scot Ramirez has been a force for Piedra Vista, with wide receivers Jacob Brown and Matt Gonzales making big plays in the passing game.
Both defense have been stout this season. The Demons have allowed only 21 points in two games, while the Panthers have surrendered 36 against two quality opponents.
The Demons have shown considerable growth from last season when they went 4-6. It has shown up on both sides of the ball, especially on the defensive line led by Laitham Johnson, Jack Madden and Sterling Worley as well as the linebacker group spearheaded by Mayberry and Manasseh Brockus.
“The guys know what it takes now from last year’s losses,” Vogt said. “They’ve learned how to work hard. We really pushed them this offseason, and it was the best offseason we’ve ever had. You can see it in our first two outcomes.”
Howell knows traveling to Durango is never a picnic.
“Durango is tough, 2-0. We saw them play Lutheran and Aztec, and they’re really explosive offensively, and their defense always does a good job,” he said. “It’s a tough place to win.”
The key for Durango? Trying to keep the Panthers off the scoreboard on the opening drive. Durango has surrendered touchdown drives to open each game this season.
“The boys are fired up, and it’s at home again, so hopefully we come out on fire,” Vogt said. “We need to stop someone the first series of the game and play good against ’em.”
Who: Piedra Vista at Durango
What: High school football
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Durango High School
Radio: KKDG 99.7 FM