ST. GEORGE — After winning three straight road games, Dixie State returned to Trailblazer Stadium to take on RMAC opponent, Black Hills State.
Black Hills started the game off with a 29-yard field goal on their first possession of the game, but they did not score again untill late in the second quarter.
The Trailblazer offense did a great job getting stops early in the game, and the Dixie offense took advantage of it. They kicked a field goal on their first possession and followed it up with two unanswered touchdowns before Black Hills kicked another field goal.
Starting quarterback Keaton Mott went down in the second quarter, but Kody Wilstead stepped up and played great for the Trailblazers. The redshirt junior went 18 for 23 with 336 passing yards, all coming off the bench. Wilstead did not travel last week because of a shoulder injury, and he was eager to get his shot pregame.
“It felt really good,” Wilstead said. “Not being able to travel last week sucked. I came out in practice this week, I came out firing. I didn’t like not being there. I knew Keaton was going to get the start, so I was like, hey, if I get my chance, I got to go out there and be ready. I watched a lot of film, got really prepared this week, and came out and did well.”
Head coach Paul Peterson didn’t want to speculate on the injury, but Mott was moving around on the sideline, throwing balls and biking after coming off the field.
“He was chomping at the bit to try and get back in,” Peterson said. “He’s a super competitor, but the doctor will take a look at it.”
Before Mott exited the game, he went 12-15 with 137 yards passing. Both quarterbacks were incredibly efficient, and the passing game was key to the blowout victory.
“I’m really proud of both those guys,” Peterson said. “Keaton did some really good things early, got dinged up, and Kody was ready to go. Kody last week was a little dinged up, so to have two weapons like these guys is really awesome. It’s kind of taken us a while to get going and I think they showed today that they are both really good football players for our team.”
At one point in the game, both Mott and Wilstead hurdled Black Hills State defenders trying to get the first down.
“We teach that,” Peterson said. “We have a drill in practice where we just try to jump over people. These knuckleheads, we want them to be safe, and if they’d like to they can slide, but we don’t want them to take guys head-on.”
Kody said he needed the first down, and going against the shorter defender, he decided to take the path of least resistance.
Kasey Allison and Chase Hess, both tight ends, had 126 and 107 yards receiving respectively, and two touchdowns each. The tight ends were open for a considerable amount of the game.
Wilstead mentioned that the middle of the field was wide open the entire game. He saw their safeties were splitting really hard, so he just kept attacking the middle of the field, and their tight ends had a great game.
The onslaught of points continued into the second half after the trailblazers went up 31-13 at the half. DSU opened up the half with two more touchdowns, making it a 45-13 lead.
On the ground, Andrew Kannely-Robles led the way with 13 attempts and 67 yards, while Wilstead contributed 50 yards on the ground with one touchdown, and senior Sei-J Lauago had 33 yards on eight attempts with one touchdown.
Conner McKay had a team-high ten tackles with six solo and four assists. He also had one tackle for a loss. Alex Lilliard was second with nine tackles, five solo, four assists and 1 tackle for a loss.
After being named RMAC defensive player of the week Dylan Hendrickson, Pine View graduate, had 2 solo tackles and one tackle for a loss.
“Our defense, this whole season, has been great stopping teams and getting the ball back for the offense,” Peterson said. “I felt like we started fast. They didn’t stop us too many times, and we talked about trying not to sabotage ourselves.”
Dixie State will look to make it five straight wins at home next week against Simon Fraser. Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Saturday.
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