Jordan Woolverton knew Durango had something special brewing heading into the 2020 football season.
Just a year earlier, the Demons looked poised to make a run to the Class 3A state title game before falling short against Pueblo South. That loss provided a mental spark for the team, specifically quarterback Jordan Woolverton.
Once Durango hit the field, the team looked nearly unstoppable as it accomplished a major goal in winning the 3A state title — the first state football crown since 1954 and the first outright state title in program history — and along the way, Woolverton was named the 3A player of the year.
Simply having the goal of winning a state title wasn't enough for the Demons to achieve it. In order to get there, they had to focus on the smaller, more specialized goals that would ultimately serve as the fuel behind the championship run in 2020.
"A state championship is always the goal," Woolverton said. "But the goals behind that goal were all about coming together as a team and playing together and holding each other accountable."
The Demons were slated to open the season against Pueblo South, the very team that eliminated them from the 2019 playoffs, but COVID-19 had other plans. Durango was forced to wait a week before making its 2020 debut. A trip to Colorado Springs and a 64-0 win over Mitchell certainly got the attention of plenty of teams from around the state.
But Woolverton doesn't think the Demons were legitimately viewed as a threat until the next week when they beat Pueblo County 49-21. Oddly enough, it was a game in which Woolverton missed the entire second half because of an injured shoulder which might've shown just how much Durango was operating as a full team.
"A lot of people had us losing that game to Pueblo County," Woolverton said. "That didn't sit well with us because we knew what we could do. After we won that one, that opened people's eyes."
They closed that out then won their final three regular season games by two scores each. In fact, the Demons finished each game comfortably going through the playoffs and all the way to the state title game against Roosevelt.
Woolverton found Gage Mestas for a wide-open touchdown throw in the first quarter to get the Durango scoring effort going.
"They wanted to stop the run," Durango coach David Vogt said after the Demons won the title. "To win the game we had to make some deep catches. I'm glad we did that."
A big touchdown run from Ben Finneseth ripped off a long touchdown run to tie the game and then Woolverton saved his best throw for a big moment. He found Mestas again for a big touchdown throw to put Durango ahead for good. Woolverton looked right at home on the biggest stage of his high school football career.
"I feel like I've been playing on big stages my whole life," he said. "I wasn't too anxious about playing on a big stage, I think I just kept going with the (flow) of the game."
Durango hoisted the championship trophy and the 2020 team secured a permanent place in the program's legacy. But Woolverton refuses to allow praise to go to anyone else other than the full roster.
"It was a full team effort," Woolverton said. "Those five guys up front were the center of our team this year. They got us to where we were and got us those big wins. They were the piece of the team that came together the most. When people talk about our team in the future, I hope they talk about those five guys up front and our team as a whole."