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Dixie closes JC era with a victory

ST. GEORGE — The 20th-ranked Dixie State Rebels ended their final regular season as a junior college team with a 28-20 win over the New Mexico Military Institute Saturday at Hansen Stadium.

"It might have looked like an ugly game, but ugly is a relative term," Dixie State head coach Greg Croshaw said. "It looked as pretty as can be in my eyes."

Sporting a tough-to-defend double-wing offense, the Broncos racked up 406 yards on the Rebels. But Dixie State surrendered only a pair of touchdowns and a pair of field goals and capitalized on six NMMI turnovers.

"We gave up a lot of yards, but only 20 points," Croshaw said. "I don't think they'll trade us yards for points. The only stat that counts is the win."

The Rebels, 8-3 overall and 5-3 in the Western States Football League, trailed 17-14 in the third quarter when J.T. Diederichs faked a reverse handoff to Aaron Lesue and kept it around the right side for a 27-yard touchdown run. With Blake Noseworthy's extra point, DSC's lead was 21-17 with 7:27 left in the third.

Dixie State pushed the lead to 28-17 early in the fourth quarter after New Mexico Military punter Ricardo Navarro bobbled the snap on fourth down and was tackled by Misi Tupe at the NMMI 20-yard line.

The Rebels used four plays to score from there, with Derek McAllister hitting Andre Young for a 10-yard TD pass with 11:23 left in the game.

The Broncos (6-5, 3-5) pulled to within 28-20 on a 27-yard field goal by Brad Fields with 8:58 to play, but Dixie's defense wouldn't allow NMMI past midfield the rest of the way. Diederichs had 108 yards and two TD runs in the game.

Croshaw's Rebels expect an invitation to the final Dixie Rotary Bowl to be announced at a press conference Tuesday at noon. Dixie State will be competing at the NCAA Division II level next season, which has a post-season playoff system, rather than bowl games.