Dixie State University vs. Salt Lake Community College, Rugby, St. George, Utah, Apr. 23, 2016, | Photo by Robert Hoppie, ASPpix.com, St. George News
ST. GEORGE — Dixie State’s rugby club team, inspired by a fallen teammate, easily routed Salt Lake Community College 40-17 Saturday in front of an enthusiastic and vocal crowd at Hansen Stadium. The win advances the Trailblazers to the championship game of the Mountain States Collegiate Rugby Conference.
After the game, the team presented the family of Jonah Tuttle, who is in a coma after a longboarding accident, a jersey and a check to help with their teammate’s medical bills.
“It was a crazy and emotional day,” said DSU captain Ben Jones. “The crowd was so big and loud. I know a lot of people were here for Jonah.”
As they’ve done all year, Dixie State started the game off solid, racing to a 19-0 halftime advantage. Taris Schramm made a break about 40 yards out to a try and Brock Goodwin got an offload from fullback Justin Fulton for a score.
Desmond Paopao scored two tries, one from an offload by Jones about 60 yards out off a scrum. Other tries were by Stetson Reed and Robert Schwenke. Justin Fulton made 5 of 6 conversion kicks for DSU.
Play got a little rough in the second half and Dixie State received yellow cards on Jordan Rapp and Mikulu Keli’ikuli. The Blazers played two men down for the remainder of the match, but easily cruised past the Bruins.
Dixie State will play in the championship match of the MSCRC next Saturday at Utah Valley University against the Wolverines. Dixie State beat UVU earlier this season.
Tuttle, who is fighting for his life in a coma at Dixie Regional Medical Center, was injured last Sunday in Snow Canyon State Park after crashing at a high rate of speed while riding a longboard. He suffered several injuries, most severely head trauma. Tuttle is receiving around the clock care and attention, but has yet to wake up from the coma.