League: Class 4A Southwest
Head coach: Matt Gerber, fifth season (6-31)
2015 record: 0-9 (0-4 Southwest League, fifth)
Returning lettermen: 11
Returning starters: Two offense, six defense
Base offensive set: I-Pro
Base defensive set: 5-2
Top offensive players: RB Alhaji Kamara (Sr.); WR Justise Stroy (Sr.); WR Bryon Simmons (Sr.); WR Kevin O’Neil (So.); QB Kaden Renshaw (So.)
Top defensive players: DL Venny Sandoval (Sr.); LB Brent Gray (Sr.); DB Jayson Johnson (Sr.); DB Zayvion Wilson (Sr.); DB Jacob Bourgault (Sr.); OLB Justin Williams (Sr.)
Outlook: The Trailblazers have lost 16 straight games, but that doesn’t stop Gerber from being optimistic.
Durango’s last win was a 33-25 triumph over Bonanza on Sept. 12, 2014. But the Trailblazers have plenty of winnable games on their schedule, including two to start the season.
Durango opens Aug. 25 at Valley, which has a 18-game losing streak. After a bye week, the Trailblazers face a Del Sol squad that went 1-8 last year.
A strong start could spur a young Durango team to a solid season.
Last year’s starting quarterback, Jonathan Schofield, transferred to Palo Verde, and leading rusher and receiver Leontre Austin was a senior.
Simmons, who had 14 catches for 133 yards, is the top offensive returnee. He was a second-team All-Southwest League pick last season.
Gerber thinks the defense can be the team’s strength, especially the linebackers and secondary. There’s a long way for that defense to improve, after the team allowed an average of 39.7 points last fall.
“The Blazers look to improve this year with a playoff berth and winning record being the main goals,” Gerber said.