ST. GEORGE — Dixie State played their lone non-conference game of the season against the Great Northwest Athletic Conference’s Simon Fraser, the only Canadian member of the NCAA. The Trailblazers beat the Clan 55-21 in a game where both their defense and offense shined.
The Trailblazers made quick work of the Clan, jumping out to an early 21-0 lead after the first. This included two passing touchdowns from Kody Wilstead, who started the game at quarterback, and a 15 yard run from Sei-J Lauago.
Simon Fraser scored first in the second half, but the Trailblazers then scored 31 unanswered points before the Clan scored another touchdown late in the third quarter. DSU added a field goal, and Simon Fraser scored one more touchdown before the final horn sounded.
The Trailblazers’ defense dominated the game by putting pressure on the quarterback. They did get beat over the top for some big yardage plays, but Dixie finished the game with 10 sacks, a new single-game record for the program.
“We go against them every day in practice so we know they’re really good,” head coach Paul Peterson said.
The defensive played well last night, and their loose, easy-going energy translated from the sideline onto the field.
“It’s fun, we can bring that energy from the sideline to the field,” senior defensive back Alex Lilliard said. “You can play and know your brothers are making plays. It’s a fun environment, coach is dancing on the sideline, it’s just fun.”
Peterson spoke highly of Lilliard, mentioning that their team is better when he is on the field. Lilliard had 5 total tackles and four broken up passes for the Trailblazers.
The senior was quick to point out that their defense hasn’t played a full game yet. They had a shutout a couple weeks ago, but Lilliard is not satisfied unless there is a zero on the scoreboard for the other team.
“We haven’t played a complete game,” Lilliard said. “Whenever there are any points on the board, we’re not happy, we’re not satisfied. I don’t care if it’s 70-7, we don’t want any points.”
Their defense is also very young, with only two seniors listed on the depth chart. These young players are beginning to develop as the season goes on, Peterson noticed.
“I’m excited about the future of this program,” Peterson said. “We got a lot of young guys that are playing, and we’re still making young guy mistakes, but to get these reps in games like this is huge for them. I feel like we’re on this upward trend and hopefully we can keep it going.”
The Trailblazers faced a tough team in Colorado State-Pueblo to open the year, but they have bounced back since, winning five straight games. Peterson is looking forward to the later half of the schedule, where the Trailblazers will take on four teams that are in the upper half of the RMAC standings.
“To play Pueblo and kind of get our teeth knocked in a little bit, kind of humble us, then to have this stretch give us some confidence is awesome,” Peterson said. “We could do some special things with these games coming up, and it’s just one game at a time.”
This five game win streak is the longest win streak Dixie State has had since moving from the junior college level to the Division II ranks in 2006.
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