ST. GEORGE – For Dixie State, definite progress has been made this season. But the end result is still the same as the Red Storm lost 42-24 Friday night to Great Northwest Athletic Conference foe Western Oregon at Hansen Stadium.
Dixie State dominated the first quarter against the Wolves. Quarterback Blake Barney completed 9 of 10 passes and the offense had two long sustained drives and put up 10 points, while the defense held WOU to 14 total yards and no first downs. After suffering from a lack of a passing attack and facing teams that were loading the box to limit DeJon Coleman, Barney seemed to find a rhythm Friday night.
However, the Wolves began a 42-0 run beginning in the second quarter. It started with a 52-yard pass from David Sowards to Keoni Piceno to pull the Wolves to within three, 10-7. On the Storm’s next possession, the offense got to the Wolves red zone. On third-and-goal from the 5, Barney was intercepted by WOU cornerback Trebriel Larry.
“Blake (Barney) went the wrong way,” said Dixie State head coach Scott Brumfield. “The other side was his primary target. He is learning. Except for that pass, he had a good game.” Barney would complete 15 of 20 passes for 170 yards and one touchdown.
The Wolves converted that turnover into a touchdown nine plays later on a 5-yard run by Joe Harris. Dixie State moved the ball quickly back into WOU territory, but Alex Giordani’s 34-yard field goal to end the half was wide right. The Storm went into the break down 14-10.
The Wolves took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove the ball 64 yards in 11 plays. The touchdown came on a 32-yard pass from Sowards to Paul Revis.
The Wolves would score three times in a four-minute span to open the fourth quarter. Harris got the first two. Revis got his second touchdown on an 81-yard punt return. With just under 11 minutes remaining, the score had grown to 42-10.
Dixie would score two touchdowns in the waning minutes, both passes from backup quarterback Tyson Blackner. Wide receiver Brad Duran scored from 20 yards out on the first. Running back Myles Burton hauled in a 3-yard pass to put the final points up on the board with six seconds left. Blackner had replaced Barney in the second half.
“We knew coming in that we were going to play Barney in the first half and Blackner in the second half,” said Brumfield. “It was not based on Barney’s first half performance. Neither quarterback set himself apart in practice this week, so we wanted to give both a shot on the field tonight.”
As a team Dixie State had 499 total yards, with 392 coming from the passing game.
“We worked on the passing game all week,” said wide receiver and team captain Nate Stephens. “We simplified the quarterback’s reads and I think that they played better.”
Stephens led the team with 124 yards on 11 receptions. Dixie State’s scores in the first quarter came on a 40-yard field goal from Giordani and a touchdown pass from Barney to Nate Johnson from 20 yards out.
WOU had 354 yards, with 213 through the air. The difference came in the turnover battle. Western Oregon had the advantage 3-1. Also, special teams performance hurt DSU. The Wolves outgained Dixie 216-78 in return yardage. Safety Colton Olson led the Storm with 14 tackles.
With the loss, DSU moves to 1-4 overall, 0-2 in the GNAC. They will travel to British Columbia next week to face Simon Fraser to begin a stretch of three consecutive games on the road.
Game time is set for 2 p.m. Pacific.
Stats: WOU 42, DSU 24
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