Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics
The Dixie State defense (left) lines up against South Dakota Mines in September 2016. The Trailblazers open their 2017 fall camp on Monday.
Dixie State football kicks off its 2017 campaign next week, as the Trailblazers open fall camp on Monday.
After matching a program-best 13 all-conference awards and setting program records in single-season rushing yards (2,396) and rushing touchdowns (24) in 2016, Dixie State looks to build on last season’s 6-5 finish (6-4 RMAC) and the first winning season in its 11-year NCAA Division II era.
Dixie State returns 19 starters from the 2016 squad, including nine on offense and 10 on defense. Four starters from the offensive line return in 2016, led by preseason All-RMAC honoree Tim Ah Hee. The Trailblazers also return the 2016 statistical leaders in passing/total offense, sophomore quarterback Josh Thompson; scoring, junior wide receiver Orlando Wallace; and tackles, senior safety Colton Olson.
Olson (70 tackles) highlights seven returners in the secondary, while senior linebacker Shiloh Pritchard (55 tackles, 3.0 sacks) will anchor the returning linebackers in 2017. Junior defensive lineman Remington Kelly (37 tackles, 5.0 TFL, 2.0 sacks) represents the lone returning starter on the defensive line.
Senior punter Corey Stens (40.0 yards per punt) and junior kicker Anthony Reyes (5-8 FG) lead the returners from the special teams unit.
Head coach Shay McClure begins his second season as head coach and will once again team up with Reilly Murphy (offensive coordinator) and Shawn Howe (defensive coordinator) on the DSU sideline. The coaching staff returns five assistants from the 2016 team, while Willie Mack Garza (defensive backs) and Anthony Weeden (wide receivers) join the staff for the 2017 campaign.
Dixie State was picked to finish fourth in the 2017 RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll and landed two players on the preseason All-RMAC team (Ah Hee and senior defensive back Tyneil Cooper).
The Trailblazers open the season with consecutive RMAC road games, beginning with their season opener at New…