ST. GEORGE — A receiver who is a former quarterback and a quarterback who is a former receiver led the way as Dixie State opened its season Thursday night with a 37-28 win over Adams State (Colo.).
"I think it helps us both that we have been in each others' roles," said Skyler Ence, who caught 11 of Judd Thompson's 27 completions in the game.
Ence was the Dixie State quarterback two years ago, when Thompson was one of his favorite targets. Thompson said the experience helped them both.
"We both know how hard it is trying to read the defenses," he said. "But you get hit a lot harder as a receiver running across the middle."
Thompson's official debut as QB was a very good one. He completed 27-of-40 passes for 374 yards and four touchdowns, including one to Ence. He also had just one interception and one sack.
Junior wide receiver Kyser Christensen had a breakout game as well, catching a career-high nine passes for 215 yards and two scores.
"Adams State's defensive backs were talking a lot of smack early in the game, but they didn't say much after halftime," Christensen said. "They tried a lot of man coverage on us in the first half and we were able to get open pretty easily."
The Red Storm led 17-6 at the break and pushed the lead out to 31-13 early in the fourth quarter on a perfect timing pass from Thompson to Nash Fowler from 10 yards out.
The Grizzlies pulled to within 31-28 on back-to-back possessions with 3:27 to play.
But Dixie High grad Micah Harward sealed the win with an interception and Tauni Vakapuna iced the win with a touchdown run of 15 yards with just over a minute to play.
Dixie State plays at Southern Utah University next Thursday night at 6 p.m.