All three La Plata County high schools were proudly represented this week when the Colorado High School Activities Association released its 2020 All-State football teams, as voted on by coaches statewide.
The all-state teams were headlined by the Class 3A state champion Durango Demons, as quarterback and safety Jordan Woolverton was named the Class 3A Player of the Year, while DHS head coach David Vogt was awarded the Class 3A Coach of the Year.
“It should be a program of the year award and not a coach of the year,” Vogt said. “So many people are involved with this program. Our entire coaching staff did an amazing job, and we were even short-staffed this year after losing some coaches and not being able to hire new ones in time during the COVID season. Other people had to step up and do even more.
“It’s also about the kids, them listening and being part of the culture and building on it and winning a state championship. I am so proud of the coaches, the players and everybody in the school who supported us. It’s not a personal award for me but about recognition for the entire program.”
After an 8-0 season that ended with a 21-14 win in the Class 3A state championship game against Roosevelt, the Demons had eight players named to the all-state team, led by Woolverton as the player of the year.
“It means a lot to me to be able to represent the town in another way,” he said. “I couldn’t have done it without my team, though. They got me that award, and I’m super thankful for them helping me achieve that.”
Woolverton’s first team all-state honor backed up his second team selection in 2019. He passed for 1,010 yards and 12 touchdowns to two interceptions in seven games. He also ran for 409 yards and eight touchdowns. On defense, Woolverton led Class 3A with six interceptions from his safety position. He also excelled in punting and kickoff duties when called upon.
“Everybody knows what a threat he was on offense, but for him to lead the state in interceptions this year, that was something else,” Vogt said of Woolverton. “In the all-state meetings this year, all the other coaches said there were only two safeties in the state they didn’t want to throw at, and Jordan was one of them. He had a ton of respect from other coaches around the league, and I am glad he got that award because he deserved it for all the extra time put in on film study and working behind the scenes.”
Here’s a closer look at the rest of the all-state selections from La Plata County:
Durango High SchoolA close runner-up to Woolverton in player of the year status would belong to DHS senior Ben Finneseth, a first team selection. The senior wide receiver was thrust into running back duties much of the season as well as quarterback for one half.
Finneseth ran for 556 yards and eight touchdowns in seven games. He also had 18 catches for 227 yards and three touchdowns. Defensively, he recorded 32 tackles and two interceptions, playing anywhere from safety to outside linebacker to defensive end.
“Since I missed out on all-state last year, I was really hoping to make the all-state list this year, and I made it my goal to be the MVP,” Finneseth said. “Jordan deserved the MVP, but it still feels good to be an all-state athlete.”
Also on the first team for DHS were senior defensive ends and linebackers Ford Pitts and Kyler Reimers as well as defensive tackle and left tackle Ethan Ryan.
Pitts and Reimers tied for the team lead with five sacks each. Reimers had a team-high 72 tackles, while Pitts was third with 64 behind Thomas Barnes’ 70 tackles.
More Durango linemen were honored, as sophomore Joshua Bates and senior Rocco Estes were named to the second team, while junior defensive tackle William Knight was an honorable mention selection.
Knight put up first team type numbers with 51 tackles, including five for losses and a sack. He also had 11 quarterback hurries to lead the team.
“Our whole defensive line was the strongest point of our defense,” Vogt said. “Those guys got off blocks and understood their gaps so well. On third-and-long, there wasn’t a quarterback who wanted to see them if they didn’t get the ball off in 2.5 seconds. Those guys brought the hammer. They had textbook “Superman” hits when they would lay out and land on the quarterback.”
Bates, Estes and Ryan helped form a formidable offensive line that paved the way for DHS to record 2,010 rushing yards as a team.
Only a sophomore, Bates will return to lead the line again the next two years.
“That award means a lot to me,” Bates said. “I’ve really worked hard all offseason. I thank God every day to be able to play the game to the best of my ability. In the next two years, I would like to shoot for my dream to play Division I football and defend our state championship.”
Pitts hopes to play for Army while Estes aims to play for Air Force.
Ryan, Durango’s longtime tackle, has an offer from Colorado State University-Pueblo.
“Ethan, he’s country strong,” Vogt said. “He brought that strength and mentality to the team and always controlled the guy in front of him. He became a vocal kid and the leader of that line.”
Bayfield High SchoolThe Wolverines went winless in 2020 in four games played, but BHS received plenty of star-level play from senior wide receiver and defensive back Crosby Edwards.
Edwards was named to the Class 2A All-State second team. He had all three of Bayfield’s touchdown receptions in 2020, as he caught 16 passes for 326 yards with a long of 75 in the loss to Lamar, the eventual state runner-up.
Defensively, he also had 16 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery.
“It means a lot,” Edwards said of his selection. “Obviously, every kid who goes through sports wants to be recognized and great at what they do. For me, this is one of the ups in a season full of downs. We only got to play four games, and it didn’t go the way we wanted it to the last two years. But this is a nice personal win, and I want to thank my teammates who I will never forget.”
Lamar quarterback Zane Rankin was named the Class 2A Player of the Year, while Eaton coach Zac Lemmon was named Coach of the Year after leading the Reds past Lamar for the state title.
Ignacio High SchoolThe Ignacio Bobcats finished the 2020 season with a winning record at 3-2. It was the Bobcats’ first winning season since 2013.
The state’s coaches agreed junior Shawn Campbell of IHS was worthy of Class 1A All-State honorable mention selection.
Campbell, a wide receiver and kicker, led IHS in receiving with 225 yards and four touchdowns on 10 receptions.
“This is really nice for a young man like Shawn,” IHS head coach Alfonso “Ponch” Garcia said. “All year long, he was asking me if he was going to be a starter. I kept telling him he had to work for what he wanted. He made such a big improvement through the year and kept getting faster. This is very well deserved.”
Campbell frequently had to gather himself after scoring a big touchdown to kick the extra point. He went 11-of-15 on extra point tries. He also averaged 35.5 yards on 11 punts with a long of 46.
“When you have a big run and then have to go back and kick, that’s tough,” Garcia said. “He really focused on that piece and did a great job kicking and punting and receiving for us. Even as a cornerback on defense, he did very well.
“He is a kid who does his school online and works very hard. He also works hard at his ranch. That kid, he’s always working his butt off. I know he’s going to work even harder this next year to get to an even bigger stage. He’s already getting ready for next year, and I know he will only take it higher and play in the all-state game next year.”
Limon, which won the Class 1A state title, swept the top awards, as running back and linebacker Kory Tacha was named Player of the Year and coach Mike O’Dwyer won the coach’s award.