Demons roll over Aztec while Farmington remains unbeaten

Steven Bortstein
Farmington Daily Times

DURANGO — It didn't take long during Friday night at Durango High School to see which team was likely going to win between the host Demons and the visiting Aztec Tigers.

Before the halfway point of the first quarter, Demons running back Nate Messier had already scored twice and Zach Haber another time as Durango clobbered the Tigers 54-0 in a dominant performance from the defending Colorado Class 3A state champions.

The game was on a running clock early in the second quarter after the Demons (2-0) made it 40-0 thanks to a strong balanced attack that kept Aztec's defense on their heels much of the night.

Durango's Zach Haber runs in for a touchdown in the first quarter of their football game against Aztec at Durango Stadium, Friday, Sept. 3.

Messier scored four times in the Demons win, while quarterback Tyler Harms did his part, tossing touchdown passes to J.J. Hoerl and Jordan Stanley in the first half as the Demons offensive skill players continually bounced off or sped past Tigers defenders much of the night.

"We got the momentum early and our guys have been playing real well at home so far," said coach Todd Casebier after the game. "Aztec was a little outmanned, but we'll take the win."

Live blog: Updates and scores as Aztec Tigers face Durango Demons

Messier led the ground attack for Durango, rushing for more than 150 yards on the night while the offensive line produced many opportunities for positive yards.

"It all starts up front with the line," Casebier said. "This is the second good week they've had in a row."

In all, the Demons have rushed for more than 700 yards in their first two games of the season, last week blowing out Pagosa Springs 58-0. Durango will get their first real test of the season next weekend when Casebier faces his former team on a road trip to Montrose.

Meantime, the Tigers (1-2) will need to recover from this loss quickly, as Aztec will face another stern challenge when they host Farmington next weekend. The top-ranked (NMOT Class 5A) Scorpions are coming off a 53-0 victory on the road over Highland and have outscored their opponents by a margin of 148-19 in three games this season.

"All I can do is tell them that they just played a really good ballclub and use this as a battle test for their next opponent, which is a great one and we don't have time to feel sorry for ourselves," said Tigers head coach Eric Stovall. "When we fall short like this, it's on me and I've got to fix it."

Durango's Nate Messier sprints past Aztec defenders Landan Frost and Marquis Henry on his way to his first touchdown of the night at Durango High School, Friday, September 3.

The Tigers offense failed to cross midfield until midway through the fourth quarter of the contest. Quarterback Landan Frost tossed a pair of interceptions and was under siege much of the night from a strong Durango pass rush.

"Our defense stepped up tonight, which is encouraging," Casebier said. "A total team victory."

FARMINGTON 53, Highland 0

The Farmington Scorpions got off to a fast start Friday night on the road at Milne Stadium in Albuquerque, scoring on each of their first five possessions in the first half and rolling over Highland by a final of 53-0.

Quarterback Brandon Furbee got the Scorpions on the board right away in their first offensive series, going 3-for-3 and culminating in a 20-yard scoring strike to Ethan Thomas that put the Scorpions on the board shortly before Kayden Gonzalez returned a Highland punt 40 yards and opened the floodgates for Farmington.

Furbee and Thomas teamed up again later in the first quarter and again in the second quarter as the Scorpions (3-0) offense was efficient for much of the game. The Scorpions starting quarterback didn't throw an incomplete pass for the entirety of his time in the game before being replaced by Trel Griego.

Furbee also got good use from his legs, scrambling out of trouble when the pocket broke down and scoring once on a short keeper before the end of the opening quarter.  

"We've got a very mature bunch out here," said coach Jeff Dalton after the game. "That's all you can ask against any opponent."

Dalton said his team may have had to overcome their own worst enemies facing what might have been considered an outclassed opponent.

"Sometimes you have to work hard to find that intensity and focus," Dalton said. "But they did that real well and executed in every phase of the game."

The Scorpions will travel to Aztec to face the Tigers on Friday at 7 p.m.

BLOOMFIELD 52, Grants 0

Bloomfield receiver Marc Armenta caught four passes for 102 yards and scored twice as the Bobcats rolled on the road, shutting out Grants by a final of 52-0.

The Bobcats (3-0) got strong individual efforts as well from running back Diego Snell-Martinez, who rushed for 89 yards and quarterback Ryan Sharpe, who was 10-for-12 on the night.

"Overall, this was a good game for us in all phases," said Bobcats coach Mike Kovacs. "We finished the game with no turnovers and got the special teams involved as well."

Armenta, a senior on the team, stood out with his performance in the Bobcats win.

"(Armenta) is just a real student of the game," Kovacs said. "He reads the defenses well and makes good adjustments and had a real big night."

The Bobcats will be home on Friday night to face Albuquerque Academy. 

PIEDRA VISTA 14, Atrisco Heritage 0

Jacob Ramsted and Brian Monclova scored touchdowns as Piedra Vista withstood a defensive challenge at home, defeating Atrisco Heritage by a final of 14-0.

"We're still working on some things and thankfully we found success and that's what's important at this phase," said Panthers coach Jared Howell after the win.

The Panthers (2-1) led 7-0 at the end of the first half to Ramsted's 3-yard run in the second quarter. They added to their lead in the third quarter when quarterback Lukas Chavez scrambled out of trouble and found Monclova for a 22-yard touchdown.

"The offensive line is still relatively new, and so there's assignments that are being missed," Howell said. "But we're finding ways to make things happen and that's a good thing."

The Panthers will be at home Friday night to face Kirtland Central.

KIRTLAND CENTRAL 63, Taos 34

Kirtland Central running back Zakk Thomas scored eight rushing touchdowns, a school record, as the Broncos (1-2) went on the road and throttled Taos by a final of 63-34, picking up their first win of the season.

Thomas amassed more than 500 yards on the night, with more than 300 on the ground and more than 100 on special teams while quarterback Kragen Cadman scored a rushing touchdown in the second half as the Broncos put up 49 points in the first three quarters of the contest.

"(Thomas) just does everything the right way," coach Jeff Schaum said of his star running back, who also fills a key role defensively from the linebacker position. "He puts this team on his back every single time."

Kirtland Central will look for back-to-back victories this Friday night when they visit Hutchison Stadium to face the Piedra Vista Panthers.

Steve Bortstein can be reached via email at SBortstein@Gannett.com, via Twitter @DTSBortstein or on the phone at (505) 635-2680