Durango rolls Fruita to stay SWL champs
Fruita Monument High School boys soccer coach Ethan Johnson fully expected Durango to play with a sense of urgency Saturday. The Demons did that and then some at Canyon View Park.
Max Wilson had a hat trick to highlight a stunningly dominant performance from the Demons, who won their third consecutive Southwestern League championship with a 7-0 victory against the Wildcats.
“I knew we were going to have to come out and play our best game of the season, especially since we beat these guys on their home field,” said Johnson, referring to the Wildcats’ 1-0 victory at Durango on Sept. 3. “So they were coming in here as not only a good team, and we’d have to do everything right. But 7-0? Um, no. I really thought we’d be more in this game.”
The win over the Demons Johnson mentioned is the only loss this season for Durango (12-1, 6-1 SWL), which have won 10 consecutive games since that loss. Fruita (6-6-2, 4-1-2) plays at Montrose on Oct. 21 in the Wildcats’ regular-season finale.
After Saturday’s loss, the Montrose game becomes a must-win. A Fruita victory would essentially clinch an automatic berth in the 5A state playoffs, Athletic Director Denny Squibb said.
“Our focus now is on the Montrose game,” Johnson said. “That’s our primary concern from here on.”
Johnson added that unlike Fruita’s early season win against Durango when the Wildcats scored on one of its four chances and Durango didn’t score on any of its 15-or-so scoring opportunities, the Demons were able to finish this time. They set the tone early, too, with Wilson scoring in the eighth and 12th minutes to give Durango the lead for good and send the Wildcats reeling.
“League is always hard, especially when you open against a good team like Fruita,” Durango coach Dalon Parker said of the Demons’ league opener against the Wildcats. “I knew we were going to have problems when they came to our place because it was the second week of the season and I knew we weren’t ready. I think since then we’ve gotten better and more disciplined, and that’s what showed today.”
After Wilson’s first two goals, an open-field shot from Eric Farrar from 35 yards away went past Fruita goalkeeper Weston King for a 3-0 Durango halftime lead. The Demons added goals from Aiden Urban and Eli Fenton in the first 10 minutes of the second half, and Wilson and Garrett Krispin added goals for the seventh-ranked team in Class 4A for a 7-0 cushion.
“If we can do well against Montrose, we’ll set ourselves up in a good position,” Johnson said. “From there, we’ll see where the dice roll.”