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Dixie State football: Trailblazers open fall camp on Monday

The Dixie State defense (left) lines up against South Dakota Mines in September 2016. The Trailblazers open their 2017 fall camp on Monday.
The Dixie State defense (left) lines up against South Dakota Mines in September 2016. The Trailblazers open their 2017 fall camp on Monday.
Stan Plewe, Dixie State Athletics

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 Mexico Highlands on Thursday, Aug. 31. Then on Saturday, Sept. 9, Dixie State travels east to play at South Dakota Mines.

DSU will return home to play four of its next five games, starting with the home opener vs. Black Hills State on Saturday, Sept. 16 at 6 p.m., followed by a matchup against former Great Northwest Athletic Conference rival Central Washington on Saturday, Sept. 23 at 6 p.m.

Following a road date at Western State Colorado on Saturday, Sept. 30, the Trailblazers return to Legend Solar Stadium for a pair of league games vs. Chadron State on Saturday, Oct. 7 at 1 p.m., and Colorado Mesa on Saturday, Oct. 14 at 6 p.m. Dixie State then heads back to the Centennial State to face Colorado Mines on Saturday, Oct. 21.

Dixie State returns to Legend Solar Stadium for Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 28, when the Trailblazers welcome Adams State for a 1 p.m. kickoff, and closes out the 2017 home slate a week later with a Senior Day showdown vs. Colorado State-Pueblo on Saturday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. DSU then closes its 2017 regular season on the road at Fort Lewis on Saturday, Nov. 11.

Keric Seegmiller is Assistant Coordinator of Media Relations at Dixie State University and the Voice of Trailblazer Athletics. Contact him at keric.seegmiller@dixie.edu.