ST. GEORGE – With the weather as cold as it was Saturday night at Walt Brooks Stadium, it felt like a late-season push for a championship, but that was not the case.
The football game on Saturday was the return of the Dixie Rebels, formerly the St. George Blitz. It was the season opener for the 2011 season, as the Rebels began their Rocky Mountain Football League championship with a 35-6 win against the Utah Valley Desperados.
Running back Kyle Coop took three steps on to the field after the Rebels defense stifled the Desperados offense. After Coop’s third step he snapped on his chinstrap and jogged to the offensive huddle.
The Rebels’ scarlet jerseys, silver pants and silver helmets didn’t quite glisten as they should have because of the overcast skies, but it didn’t stop the offense from pounding the football down the field on that first drive of the season.
Coop’s first carry was a gain of only two yards, but he made the Desperados pay on the next play. He powered his way forward for 13 yards. His next carry came after an incompletion by Rebels quarterback Diarra Fields. Coop dashed for an eight-yard carry on a toss sweep. He scampered for 15 yards on his next carry, avoiding defenders until he was tackled at the one-yard line. Coop finally scored on the next play and stiff-armed a Desperado defender unnecessarily after he scored the first touchdown of the season.
It was completely easy for the Rebels following the opening offensive drive. Fields threw a 46-yard bomb to Rebels wide receiver Robbie Dias to make the score 14-0 in the second quarter. Coop ran wild for a 23- and 22-yard run to set up a two-yard touchdown run. The Rebels went in to halftime with the score at 21-0. Coop rushed for 98 yards in the first half. He played for only one possession in the second half as the Rebels completed the blow-out victory.
“It’s the first game, and I feel like the season’s only going to get tougher,” Coop said. “We’ve got to stay healthy. My offensive linemen—they were blocking.”
The Rebels play again Saturday, April 2, as they host the Utah Cobras at 7 p.m. Catch the game at Walt Brooks Stadium on the campus of Dixie High School, the home of all the Rebels’ home games. You can also meet the team after every game at Iceburg on the corner of 200 East and St. George Blvd.