Durango High School Football Enters New Era

September 14, 2023

The Durango Demons High School football team fell just one win shy of the 3A Colorado State Championship game in 2022. Following the season, Head Coach Todd Casebier retired from coaching, ushering in a change for D.H.S. Football. Head Coach Matt Burton has taken over, bringing with him a more modern spread offense. By Connor Shreve. This story is sponsored by Happy Pappy’s Pizza & Wings and Tafoya Barrett and Associates

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It's a new era for Durango High School football. You're watching the Local News Network, brought to you by Happy Pappy's Pizza-N-Wings and Tafoya Barrett and Associates. I'm Connor Shreve. After a run to the quarter-finals in last season's 3A state tournament, the Demons' head coach Todd Kayspear retired. Enter coach Matt Burton from Lindale, Texas. He says the transition has been great.

Awesome, we've got phenomenal kids here. We've got some of the best coaches in the state, without a doubt. It's been a growing experience, little bit different, coming from Texas, but it's been phenomenal and the kids and the coaches are great.

Burton did keep a handful of coaches from the previous staff, and brought in some new assistants as well. He did not change the team's goal of earning a state title, but he did change the offense. Last year, the team operated a veer-style playbook. Now under Burton, it's an up-tempo spread style of play.

I think you've got to put your stamp on what it is that you're trying to do. Regardless, we're trying to build on the success that they've had. The guys before us have laid an incredible foundation. We're just trying to continue to build on top of that, but yeah, as far as a culture, if you will, standpoint, we've got our own identity.

Burton believes the roster does have enough talent to handle the change.

Yeah, I think we've got a phenomenal young quarterback in Tyler Harms. I think he's going to get to showcase his arm a little bit this year. We've got some young receivers on the outsides, between Seb Tripp, between Malachi Bear, and Peyton Dyke, we've got some really good weapons on the outside, as well as a couple of slot receivers that are really coming along.

Senior quarterback Tyler Harms is in charge of operating the new look Demons offense, and says players are taking a lot of responsibility for how this team plays.

We got to be more understanding. Just mental mistakes, we had a lot of them, and that comes on me as the quarterback, that comes on all the senior leaders. We got to make sure all the young guys know what they're doing, and if we do that, we could improve a lot.

Durango High School has ticked off two straight wins after a season-opening loss at Farmington. The offense has put up big numbers. That's the response Burton wants to see.

Well, we're going to have to continue to build and grow on a week-to-week basis. We can never be stagnant, and one win is great, but we've got to continue to raise the bar, because the competition only gets more stiff the closer you get to that game.

With more than 100 points scored through the first three weeks of the season, early returns on the coaching transition do look positive. Durango will of course continue to work toward league play, which starts October 6th against Summit in Frisco. And if the team continues to improve, the Demons could be a completely different beast by the time the playoffs come calling. You can learn more about this story and others online at durangolocal.news. Thank you for watching this edition of the Local News Network, I'm Connor Shreve.


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