Trailblazers hang on to beat Bengals, snap 11-game skid

When trying to snap an 11-game losing streak, you certainly need things to go your way. And sometimes at the key moments, a little luck doesn’t hurt, either.

Trying to protect an eight-point lead Friday night, Durango got the help it needed in earning its first win since late in 2012.

Bonanza’s ByJon Large had a late touchdown called back due to a penalty, and Daniel Medina intercepted a pass with 58 seconds remaining as visiting Durango escaped with a 33-25 win.

“I’m glad things worked out in our favor,” Durango coach Matt Gerber said. “We needed this win badly, we haven’t had one in quite sometime. There were lots of flags in the game, which is something we will certainly work on.”

It was the first victory for the Trailblazers (1-1) since a 34-21 win over Shadow Ridge on Oct. 25, 2012.

The game featured a bit of everything, including three kickoff returns for touchdowns. There also were 19 penalities, none bigger than the holding call that wiped out Large’s big play.

On fourth-and-6 from the Trailblazers’ 41-yard line with a little more than a minute to play, Large took a swing pass and broke loose for an apparent score that would have pulled the Bengals (0-3) within a 2-point conversion of tying the game.

However, two flags hit the field — a holding call and another for celebration in the end zone. Instead of a two-point game, Bonanza faced fourth-and-31, and Wyatt Allison’s desperation heave was intercepted by Medina.

In the opening half, it was the Durango aerial attack that put on a show, as quaterback Jonathan Schofield threw for 220 yards and a pair of scores, including a 92-yard TD to Luis Paulino.

“We knew that since they played tight on the outside, we could take some shots,” Gerber said. “They adjusted in the second half, and we weren’t able to hit the big plays.”

After halftime, the Trailblazers managed just 27 total yards, and the lone score came on Leontre Austin’s 86-yard kickoff return. Austin’s score came 14 seconds after DeShawn Williams’ 82-yard kickoff return for a touchdown to open the third quarter.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen back-to-back kickoff returns for touchdowns like that,” Gerber said. “It was critical that we got that score back to continue the momentum. Austin was certainly key for us tonight in this victory.”

Austin also scored on a 1-yard run, as he finished with 73 yards on 19 carries. Paulino also was a huge boost for Durango with six catches for 147 yards.

Bonanza managed 201 total yards, led by Large’s 90 yards and a TD on 11 carries. Williams added 45 yards on 11 attempts for the Bengals, who only threw for 53 yards.