FARMINGTON — For the third time in as many weeks, the Durango High football team shut down a San Juan County team.
After wins over Kirtland Central and Piedra Vista the previous two weeks, the Demons held Farmington High out of the end zone as they defeated the Scorpions 21-2 on Thursday night at Hutchison Stadium.
"They were big. They were aggressive, and we just didn't handle it very well," FHS head coach Gary Bradley said of Durango. "Our blocking, tackling and protecting the football did not come through."
No. 4 FHS (3-1) came into the game averaging 45.3 points per game, but the Demons limited the Scorps to just 148 yards of total offense while forcing four turnovers and eight punts.
"I really think they took advantage of our mistakes," said FHS running back Brian Farley, who was limited to 55 yards on 12 carries. "We all didn't take care of our assignments, and I really feel like that ruined us on offense."
Both defenses held tough in the first half with nine of the first 10 drives by the Demons and the Scorps resulting in punts, with the lone exception being a Farmington High interception on a wide receiver pass.
Durango (4-0) finally broke through near the end of the second quarter with an 11-play, 75-yard drive that was capped off by a 25-yard touchdown run by quarterback Jeremy Szura to give the Demons a 7-0.
The Scorps' best chance to score a touchdown came right before the halftime break when quarterback Jacob Lucas took a 16-yard run into Durango territory. Lucas broke out of a tackle, but his helmet was ripped off by a Demon defender. By rule, the referees were forced to blow the play dead as Lucas ran toward the end zone.
The FHS drive stalled out, and the Scorps entered halftime trailing by a touchdown.
The Demons scored again four minutes into the second half.
The Scorps held Tyler Worley to 68 yards, but the Durango running back made one big run, scampering 37 yards through the FHS defense for the touchdown to give the Demons a 14-0 lead at the 7:51 mark of the third quarter.
"We'll look at the film tomorrow and try to pinpoint it, but it's tough right now with the emotions of losing," Bradley said of the pair of defensive lapses.
FHS was forced out of its comfort zone on offense and went more to the passing game after falling behind two touchdowns. The stout Durango defense took full advantage.
Halfway through the fourth quarter, Szura put the game away when he intercepted Lucas and returned it 60 yards for the touchdown to give the Demons a 21-0.
"He's a big time team leader for us," Durango head coach David Vogt said of Szura.
The interception was one of three for the Demons defense in the win.
The Scorps finally got on the scoreboard at the 3:52 mark of the fourth quarter, and,not surprisingly, it was the defense coming up with the big play.
FHS defensive back Kyle Reynolds sacked Szura in the end zone for a safety to avoid the shutout.
Durango had just 170 yards of offense against the Scorps defense, which kept FHS competitive for most of the contest.
"Our defense is solid," Bradley said.
Durango mowed through Kirtland Central, Piedra Vista and FHS by a combined score of 98-12, but Vogt said the competition was closer than the scores appeared.
"They are all just really well coached, but our coaching staff made the adjustments, and our kids have played super hard," he said.
FHS will turn its attention to a road game against No. 7 Valencia on Sept. 27.
"There's always room for improvement," Farley said. "We're going to be road warriors and take it to Valencia as best we can."
Joshua Perry covers sports for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4577 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jperrysuu.