Trailblazers open season with disappointing loss to NM-Highlands

Photo by Stan Plewe, DSU Athletics

WEST LAS VEGAS, N.M. – The Dixie State football team squandered a 15-point lead in the fourth quarter and gave back the closest thing to a “gimme” they will see all season, losing on the road to New Mexico Highlands University, 23-22.

NMHU went 0-11 last year and started this year with an overhauled team and a new coach.

With just over 12 minutes to play, the DSU lead was 22-7. The Trailblazers had kept NMHU out of the end zone except for an early score on the Cowboys first possession. But the home team scored on consecutive drives to start the fourth quarter to pull within 22-20.

The Cowboys then took advantage of a costly DSU turnover in Trailblazer territory. A muffed punt reception gave NMHU the ball at the Blazer 36-yard line. The Dixie defense held, but Cowboy kicker Sterling Parks nailed a 42-yard field goal with 2:48 remaining to give NMHU its first lead of the game.

Dixie State got the ball back and drove to its own 40-yard line before an interception all but sealed the fate for the Blazers. One more possession, with little time remaining, led to a desperation pass play as time expired that was broken up.

Ernest Quiocho

The Trailblazers opened the scoring with a 1-yard run by Ernest Quiocho. The play capped a four-play, 44-yard drive with 12:26 left in the first.

Four minutes later, NMHU tied the score on a 23-yard pass from quarterback Danny Cameron to Louis Webb. He fumbled the ball into the end zone, but NMHU recovered for the score.

Dixie State answered immediately when quarterback Malik Watson put the Blazers up 13-7 with 3:46 left in the first. Watson scored on a 19-yard run on a fourth-and-1 play.

DSU added an Anthony Reyes 24-yard field goal in the second to take a 16-7 lead into halftime.

Dixie State’s scoring drive in the third culminated with a 5-yard pass from Watson to Kasey Allison and gave the Blazers the 22-7 lead going into the final period.

The Cowboys struck quickly in the fourth, completing a 50-yard drive with a 17-yard pass from Cameron to J.J. Anderson. The two-point conversion failed and the score was 22-13.

On the Cowboys’ next possession, they got a big play. Running back Dione Alston broke free for a 46-yard run. The PAT pulled the Cowboys to 22-20.

The Blazers will play next on Saturday, Sept. 9, at 6 p.m. when they travel to Rapid City, S.D., to take on the Orediggers.

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