It was a season of records for the best football team in Dixie State University history.
The Trailblazers notched their record-setting sixth win of the season after defeating Fort Lewis College 16-14 Saturday in the final game of the season. This marks the most wins for DSU football since 2005 and its first winning season since joining Division II.
Saturday marked the final time the seniors of the team would take the field at Legend Solar Stadium. They would walk off as winners — something not many DSU football alumni can say.
It was an emotional day,” said senior defensive lineman Darius Matthews, a mass communication major from West Jordan. “It was kind of hard to keep the emotions intact knowing we had a chance to make history.”
It wasn’t the best game of the season for the Trailblazers based on stats. They were outgained in yards, managing just 255 yards compared to 340 for the Skyhawks.
“Stats are overrated, head coach Shay McClure said. “Total yardage isn’t always indicative of who wins the game.”
The difference in the game came down to special teams when sophomore running back Orlando Wallace blocked a punt which resulted in a safety for the Trailblazers. That gave DSU the two-point lead it would need to hold off the Skyhawks.
DSU’s offense did all of its damage in the first half of the game led by senior running back DeJon Coleman. Coleman, who is DSU’s all-time leading rusher, scored the first points of the game on a 36-yard rushing touchdown just 92 seconds into the game.
Coleman finished the game with 145 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries.
Just minutes prior to taking a commanding 16-0 lead after the safety, Coleman punched his seventh touchdown of the season on a one-yard run.
“I am proud of our seniors,” McClure said. “It would have been easy for them to bail during the bad years, but they stayed the course and stayed positive through the good and the bad. I’m happy for them.
The Trailblazers entered halftime leading 16-8. FLC closed the gap midway through the fourth quarter with a touchdown bringing the score to 16-14.
With just over a minute to go, the Skyhawks lined up for a would-be go-ahead 49-yard field goal. The kick came up short and DSU secured a win in its final game of the season.
“After the field goal, I knew it was over,” Matthews said. “The defense played out its mind all game. I knew that if we didn’t score, our defense would stop them.”
In its maiden season in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, DSU finished in a tie for third place in the conference.
With the construction of Legend Solar Stadium in the future, this historic season for the DSU football program may just be a crucial step to its continued success.
“This program is trending upward, there’s no question about that,” McClure said. “It’s all about the players, and I feel good about the young men we have. I feel good about the culture.”