It was the ThunderWolves’ defense that helped secure a 24-13 victory over the Dixie State Trailblazers at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl Saturday, increasing the team’s winning streak to five games.
The defensive line won the game up front. The Trailblazers came in averaging 229.9 yards per game rushing, and they only got 127 yards during the game.
The defensive line was able to create consistent pressure resulting in four sacks and helped free the linebackers to be able to tackle the running backs, which resulted in 10 tackles for loss and three linebackers reaching the double-digit tackle mark. “Defense played outstanding,” ThunderWolves’ Head Football Coach John Wristen said.
Four players surpassed the double-digit tackle mark in this game. Senior linebacker Ryan Merrill led the team in tackles with 15 total and also gathered 3.5 TFLs. Sophomore linebacker Brandon Payer and senior safety LaRon Tarkington were close behind with 14 total tackles.
Turnovers played a huge part in the ThunderWolves win. The Pack defense was able to force two fumbles and get an interception. The defense was only able to recover one of the fumbles, but that fumble recovery was picked up by redshirt freshman Emery Taylor and returned for a touchdown. That fumble happened to be at the end of the second quarter when the Trailblazers were driving down the field to score before halftime.
The Thunderwolves’ rushing attackz still effective as redshirt freshman Austin Micci, senior Fradlet Dort and junior David Cardinal Jr. all got significant carries resulting in 143 yards rushing between the three of them. “We are playing to the hot guy,” Wristen said.
The passing game had some problems as this was the Packs second-lowest passing total of the season (135); the game with the lowest passing total was a loss in week 2 to West Texas A&M (92). Junior quarterback Rex Dausin was 12-22 for 135 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The pressure was in Dausin’s face throughout the game as he was sacked twice and hit three more times. Dausin’s favorite target was junior tight end Aaron Eckhoff who had a career game leading the team with three catches and 49 yards. “Offense made enough plays to make things happen,” Wristen said.
Special teams played its part in the game as sophomore defensive lineman Deyon Sizer was able to block a field goal at the end of the game to keep the score 24-13. Senior wide receiver Daniel Wise also had a 58-yard return to set up a drive that ended in a touchdown from Dausin to junior tight end Zach Boyd.
The final regular season game will be on Nov. 12 at the Neta and Eddie DeRose ThunderBowl at 2 P.M.
[slickr-flickr tag=”vsdixie” type=”slideshow” delay=”3″ descriptions=”on” captions=”on” align=”center” attribution=”Gallery by Jason Prescott”]
Edited by: Theresa Wolf