ST. GEORGE — With homecoming week coming to a close for Dixie State, they faced off Chadron State at the Trailblazer stadium. Dixie State was on a six-game winning streak coming into the game, but could not keep the momentum going as they lost to Chadron 40-27.
The game started with a bang in the form of a Sei-J Lauago 69-yard touchdown run on the very first play from scrimmage. It looked as if the Trailblazers were going to take the momentum and run with it, but that was not the case.
“That score on the first play of the game was maybe the worst thing to happen to us,” Trailblazer head coach Paul Peterson said. “We knew coming into this game it would be a battle, and that was great. I thought we started going fast, but we made some mistakes early on and we didn’t adjust till early in the second half and it was just too little too late.”
Chadron State responded with a Dalton Holst 20-yard touchdown pass to Cole Thurness, and the Eagles did not look back. They went into the locker room up 28-7 and kicked a field goal on their first possession of the second half.
That would total 31 points unanswered. Dixie State got a touchdown of their own. With 7:46 to go in the third quarter, a 16-yard pass from Tanner Hammond found Dejuan Dantzler for a touchdown. That was the Trailblazers’ first score since the first play of the game.
“I don’t know if we started drinking our own kool-aid and thinking we were pretty cool, but they came out and punched us a little bit,” Peterson said. “We didn’t respond until it was too late.”
Dixie State got two more touchdowns, a Hammond 33-yard run and a Hammond 7-yard touchdown pass to Notoa, but Chadron got a touchdown as well to get the win.
Dixie State has also shown that they switch up their quarterbacks often, and nothing changed today. With Keaton Mott not suited up, Kody Wilstead got the start. When Wilstead struggled, Peterson went to Tanner Hammond, a redshirt sophomore, who came in and went 17-32 with one interception. The most attempts Hammond had going into this game was five last week against Simon Fraser.
“He was a little spark for us,” Peterson said. “He’s a good athlete. He uses his feet very well. There were some throws that he missed that he wished he probably had back. He hadn’t had a lot of time before to come out here and have the success he did. I’m proud of him, it was good. He was ready to go.”
A loss like this can sometimes define a team’s season in the way that they bounce back. Peterson isn’t too worried about it.
“We’ve got a really good team,” Peterson said. “Our guys are going to come back ready to go. Our guys are going to bounce back, we’re going to be ready to go, we’ll make sure of that.”
The late effort from the Trailblazers was not enough to complete the comeback, but they have a much tougher road ahead of them. Dixie State will play three of the top five teams in the RMAC to finish out the season, including a game against the undefeated the Orediggers of Colorado School of Mines.
“With Mesa, Mines and Adams, all three of them are really good teams. They’ve got really explosive offenses, so we’ve got to do a good job making sure we get better. Fix what needs fixing.”
The Trailblazers will be at home again next week as they will take on Colorado Mesa at 1 p.m.
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