Montrose stuffs Durango
4th-quarter stand, Freismuth interception lift Indians to win
MONTROSE — The offense is beat up and struggled, but the Montrose defense was ready Friday night.
The Indians shut out Durango in the second half as Montrose rallied to defeat the Demons 14-10 in a Southwestern Conference football showdown.
Montrose (8-1, 2-1 SWC) could force a three-way tie for first place with a win next week at Central and the tiebreaker would go to Grand Junction for the title.
After allowing a touchdown on Durango’s first drive, the Montrose defense limited the Demons to a field goal the rest of the way.
“Our defense stood tall tonight,” Montrose coach Todd Casebier said. “We had played Monarch, Fruita and Grand Junction back to back to back — very good high school offenses. Statistically the best in Monarch. Fruita’s no bowl of cherries, and Grand Junction is one of the best statistically.”
Durango quarterback Jeremy Szura completed 12 of 17 passes for 155 yards with one interception. He was limited to 46 yards passing in the second half. The Demons had 251 yards of total offense.
“We stepped up to the plate and played like Montrose defense does,” Montrose junior cornerback Mitchell Freismuth said. “We played our hearts out.”
The Indians, whose offense was limited to 28 yards in the first half, finished with 223 yards. Mike Rocha led the way with 33 carries for 144 yards and one touchdown. He had 125 yards in the second half.
“We went back to what we do and did it a little bit better,” Casebier said. “They have a heck of a defense. They are well-coached. That’s a playoff defense. That’s a playoff team. They’re the real deal.”
Durango jumped to a 7-0 lead with a Szura 14-yard touchdown run on the Demons’ nine-play, 73-yard opening drive.
The Demons (7-2, 3-1 SWC) took a 10-0 lead early in the second quarter when Blake Dunlap made a 33-yard field goal.
Montrose had an opportunity to score just before the half, but Irah Wooten dropped a downfield pass as he turned toward the end zone.
“Durango did a great job defensively against us,” Casebier said. “I felt like from about the mid-second quarter on, we were fine. We had an opportunity on the big touchdown pass and dropped it. I felt like we started to impose our will on them and did for the most part.”
The Indians opened the second half with a 15-play drive, with all of the yards coming on the ground. Rocha did most of the damage with nine carries, but quarterback Kameron DeVincentis scored on a 1-yard run with 6:37 left. The drive went 72 yards in 5 minutes, 23 seconds, and pulled Montrose within 10-7.
“We had to believe as a team,” Rocha said. “We’ve been in that situation before at Monarch.
“The O-line, without them, we wouldn’t be where we are.”
Freismuth came up with a big play, intercepting Szura near midfield on Durango’s first possession of the third quarter and returning it into Durango territory.
“That was sweet,” Freismuth said. “The (defensive) line made that guy throw it bad.”
It was his first interception of the season, he said.
“It felt pretty good knowing I stepped up and helped the team get the win,” Freismuth said.
The Indians capitalized with Rocha scoring on a 1-yard run with 1:17 left in the third quarter for a 14-10 lead.
“I’m real proud of Mitch,” Casebier said. “He played to win tonight and not to lose. That’s so important for any football player, especially a corner.”
Durango put together a drive deep into Montrose territory midway through the fourth quarter. Tight end Daniel Gustavson caught a 22-yard pass on fourth-and-15, but he was stopped at the Montrose 5. The Indians’ defense didn’t let Durango into the end zone.
The Montrose offense took over and ran out the clock.