Demons show they’re legit
Fruita's scoring woes continue in shutout loss
Entering Friday’s Southwestern Conference football game against Fruita Monument, there might have been some questions about whether Durango High School’s 5-0 record was legitimate.
The Demons had played three of their nonconference games this fall against out-of-state teams.
Durango answered any doubts with a 27-0 victory over the Wildcats at Stocker Stadium.
Ask the Durango players what the difference is between last year’s team and this year’s edition and they point to the top.
“It’s coaching, absolutely coaching,” Demons senior running back and defensive back Gus Barnes said.
First-year coach Greg Wyatt has gotten his troops to rally behind his philosophy.
“I think the kids were extremely motivated,” Wyatt said. “Our kids practice hard all week.”
Barnes said the players accepted Wyatt’s scheme even during summer workouts.
“As soon as he came in he told us what we were going to do and how we were going to do it,” Barnes said. “He told us we were going to win. We bought into it.”
Wyatt, who played quarterback at Northern Arizona, likes to throw the ball. Against the Wildcats on Friday, the Demons didn’t have to pass it much.
“We try to do what the defense gives us,” he said. “(Against Fruita Monument) we were able to control the ball and didn’t have to pass as much.”
It wasn’t just one ball carrier handling the load. Barnes and fellow running back AJ Anderson both broke the 100-yard mark on Friday and quarterback Jordan Gillen was close, rushing for 90 yards.
The victory marked the first time Durango had defeated Fruita Monument in 12 years.
“This is a tough place to play,” Wyatt said of Durango’s recent lack of success playing at Stocker Stadium.
Things didn’t bode well for Fruita Monument (2-4, 0-3 SWC) from the beginning. On the first play from scrimmage, sophomore quarterback Zach Thorpe, back after missing a game and a half with a high sprain of his right ankle, injured the ankle again and was on the sidelines on crutches the remainder of the game.
That left it up to his backup, Casey Rogers, who again had to switch from his normal position of running back.
Rogers completed 12 of 19 passes for 83 yards but was intercepted twice.
He did direct a final drive starting from the Wildcats’ 17-yard line to the Durango 5, but a fumble ended the drive with 1:56 remaining.
The Wildcats rushed for 114 yards, with Devin Dance doing most of the damage with 61 yards on 12 carries.
After four consecutive road games, Durango returns home to play Grand Junction next Friday.
It was the third consecutive loss for Fruita Monument, which returns to nonconference action against Douglas County next Friday.