Durango quarterback Jordan Woolverton gets a lot of time to think to himself. After all, the six-hour drive from the southwest corner of the state to the Denver area where Woolverton receives a lot of his offseason training doesn't leave a whole lot of time for anything else.
Woolverton isn't from anywhere on the I-25 corridor, yet is one of the most promising quarterback prospects in the entire state. He's a walking example that talent isn't exclusive to convenient locations.
"People think it's going to be tough to find a guy who can play at the D-I level that's going to be down here in Durango," Woolverton said. "I'd say the biggest challenge, especially living down here, is recruitment."
He has a slew of Division II offers, among them are Colorado State University-Pueblo, but the Division I schools certainly know who he is. Should he decide to head that way, Woolverton will get his chance to join a D-I roster at the University of Colorado.
All he needs is a chance to showcase his ability on the field. And his ability on the field is worth the price of admission. He's thrown for 527 yards and five touchdowns while adding 149 yards and three touchdowns on the ground. He might be defined as a typical "dual-threat" quarterback, but that label fits him more than perhaps anyone else in Colorado this season.
Adding to all that is his toughness. For those not wearing the same uniform as him, he can be annoyingly tough.
He injured his throwing shoulder early as the Class 3A No. 3 Demons grabbed a 49-21 win over Pueblo County on Oct. 24. But he stayed in the game long enough to help his team build a 21-7 lead at halftime. He scored his lone rushing touchdown of that game late in the second quarter but was clearly in discomfort after the play.
He was removed for the game but wasn't going to allow himself to sit at all the very next week against Evergreen.
"That first practice that Monday, I sat out of that practice and even sitting out of a practice just kills me," Woolverton said. "I hate being on the sideline practice, games, it kills me. I couldn't practice with the guys but I'm not letting this keep me out of this next game coming up. I knew that I was going get in the PT and work hard to get it just healthy enough to where I was able to play."
And play he did. He threw for 170 yards and ran for 82 on six carries, which included a touchdown. Banged up shoulder and all, Woolverton and his coaches were always going to find a way to make sure he was effective, but also safe.
"I wouldn't say it adjusted the way I want to play the game," Woolverton said. "I would say it adjusted our game plan, definitely a bit for how we game-planned against Evergreen. With it being on my right shoulder, my throwing shoulder, there were some throws that I wasn't able to make as powerful or as on-time as we would need them to be. So we had to limit those kinds of passing plays and focused more on really a short, quick passing attack against them."
With just two regular season games remaining, the Demons have begun to shift their mentality from grateful for being able to play to closing out a special season with a state championship run.
With Durango off the beaten path, Woolverton and his teammates are trying to accomplish something so special that the Demons are seen as a viable threat on the field and not just an opponent that requires a trip over Wolf Creek Pass to face.
"We don't want Durango to fall off the map anytime soon," Woolverton said. "We're really trying to lead the way for these younger guys and showing them, this is what a brotherhood looks like, this is what everything like in this program looks like. We need to focus on to be able to compete with these guys up in the Front Range."
With three wins already coming against opponents based on the east side of the Rocky Mountains, this specific Durango team won't be forgotten anymore than they'll be overlooked for the remainder of the season.