The Dixie Sunbowl had its usual arena dirt replaced with grass to hold the first Dixie State University spring football game since 1985 Saturday.
The Sunbowl, which is usually home to the annual Dixie Roundup rodeo, was transformed into a football field to accommodate DSU’s football team while Legend Solar Stadium is under construction. DSU practiced on the field on April 7 before playing their scrimmage Saturday. DSU played an offense versus defense scrimmage on the makeshift field.
DSU hasn't played at the Sunbowl since the team's move to Hansen Stadium, now Legend Solar Stadium, in 1985.
The offense took home the scrimmage victory with a score of 37-35.
“I thought [playing at the Dixie Sunbowl] would be a great thing for our young men,” head coach Shay McClure said. “[The Sunbowl] is where DSU, and back in the day Dixie College, football really originated… I thought it was an important history lesson just as much as letting our kids know what they came from and what they represent.”
McClure said the team treated the scrimmage like a game situation. A full set of officials oversaw the game just like they would any other regular-season football game.
“There’s always competition in [a scrimmage], but this is kind of bragging rights,” said junior offensive lineman Braden Petersen, a business major from Draper. “To be able to show that our offense has improved a lot and have greatness in us means a lot.”
Freshman offensive lineman Steven Bangerter, a business administration major from St. George, said the team competes every day in practice, but a game atmosphere helps the team be even more competitive.
“I've been to rodeos [at the Sunbowl],” said Bangerter. “It’s different to play football on grass there when it’s usually a rodeo grounds with dirt.”
McClure said last season the team could have won a couple more games than they did. He said the team isn’t where he wants it to be yet, but it is getting better every day as it heads into fall. Last year Trailblazer football had their first winning season since the team became Division II. Its final team record was 6-5, 6-4 in conference.
“We’ve got to get better as individual players, we’ve got to get better as individual coaches, and we have to get better as a program,” McClure said.
The Trailblazers will start off the football season against the New Mexico Highlands University Cowboys Sept. 2.