Homecoming did not turn out as the Chadron State College football team had hoped Saturday.
Dixie State scored on its first four possessions to build a 24-0 halftime lead and converted two turnovers early in the third period into 5-yard touchdown drives to hike the lead to 38-0.
Aided by a pair of “on the fly” punt returns by senior Cody Paul, the Eagles sliced the margin in half before each team scored once in the final four minutes, and the Trailblazers from St. George, Utah, won 44-27.
Dixie State, now 3-3 overall and 3-2 in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, rushed for 370 yards and completed 13 of 17 passes for another 100 yards. After being limited to only 95 yards in the first half, Chadron State finished with 169 rushing and 187 passing for 356 total yards.
The Eagles fall to 1-5 overall and 1-4 in the conference.
Dixie State’s offensive leaders included quarterback Josh Thompson, who hit Orlando Wallace with an 11-yard pass to cap a 90-yard drive that opened the scoring. Thompson also ran 3 and 5 yards for touchdowns and Wallace scored on a 2-yard burst.
The Trailblazers also reached the end zone on a 43-yard jaunt by Clifford Simms in the second period. The game’s leading rusher, DeJon Coleman, who carried 24 times for 158 yards, added Dixie State’s final TD on a 5-yard run.
Anthony Reyes also booted a 34-yard field goal.
While nearly everything turned to gold for the Trailblazers and nothing much clicked for the Eagles deep into the third quarter, Chadron State finally came alive after Paul fielded a punt on the run and returned it 23 yards to the Dixie State 30.
The Eagles scored again on their first possession of the fourth period after Jackson raced 41 yards and freshmanPriest Jennings scampered 35 yards to the end zone on the next play.
Vinson completed three passes for 59 yards to set up the Eagles’ last touchdown on Jackson’s 1-yard dive.
Jackson led the Eagles in rushing with 10 carries for 103 yards. Vinson completed 10 of 22 passes for 134 yards after relieving starter TD Stein, who completed 11 of 19 passes for 53 yards, but left the game early in the third quarter and removed his shoulder pads. Stein had missed the Eagles’ last 3 ½ games because of a chest injury.
Dixie State’s two touchdowns early in the third quarter were the result of firsts. The Trailblazers’ Peter Brown made his team’s first interception of the season and returned it 30 yards to the Chadron State five. On the first play after the ensuing kickoff, the Eagles lost their first fumble of the season at their five.
The Trailblazers reached the end zone on three plays both times.
Dixie State 7 17 14 6 —44
Chadron State 0 0 6 21 —27
DX—Orlando Wallace 11 pass from Josh Thompson (Anthony Reyes kick)
DX—Josh Thompson 3 run (Reyes kick)
DX—Reyes 35 field goal
DX—Clifford Sims 43 run (Reyes kick)
DX—Thompson 5 run (Reyes kick)
DX—Wallace 2 run (Reyes kick)
CSC—Derek Jackson 3 run (run failed)
CSC—Priest Jennings 35 run (Will Morgan kick)
CSC—Kevin Coy 1 run (Steve Allen run)
DX—DeJon Coleman 5 run (kick failed)
CSC—Jackson 1 run (Colt Foster pass from Matt Vinson)