ST. GEORGE – Dixie State’s football team will open up the season ranked fourth in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference. The team finished its inaugural season in the conference last year tied for fifth with its first winning record in the NCAA Division II era.
In this year’s poll, the three teams that finished tied for first in 2016 all received first-place votes and took the top three spots. CSU-Pueblo, National Champions just three years ago, claim the top spot with 93 points (four first-place votes). Directly behind CSU-P are the Rams of Colorado Mesa. Out of Grand Junction, CMU also had four first-place votes and finished with 92 points. In third was Colorado School of Mines with 82 points and three first-place votes.
Dixie State received 69 votes. The Trailblazers finished 6-4 last year in the conference, including a win over nationally-ranked Colorado Mesa. The ranking is a big jump over last season, when DSU was picked to finish ninth.
“We made some great strides last year,” said DSU head coach Shay McClure. “The coaching team came in with a four-year plan. We are far from the finished product and where we want to be as a program.”
Behind Dixie State in the preseason poll were Black Hills State (62), South Dakota Mines (51), Western (43), Chadron State (41), Fort Lewis (37), Adams State (25) and New Mexico Highlands (10).
Dixie State also landed two players on the preseason All-RMAC team. Tim Ah Hee (OL) and Tyneil Cooper (DB) were named to the first team.
Ah Hee started all 11 games last year on an offensive line that saw many forced rotations due to injury. Ah Hee anchored a run game that set single-season rushing records in individual and team rushing yards.
Cooper started nine games at defensive back in 2016 and was selected to the RMAC first team defense. Cooper had 33 tackles and nine pass breakups. He also blocked an extra-point attempt at Central Washington.
Dixie State will open this season with its first two games on the road. On Aug. 31, the Trailblazers will travel to Las Vegas (N.M), to play New Mexico Highlands. The Trailblazers beat New Mexico Highlands 21-14 in 2016 to open the season with a win. DSU’s home opener on the new field at Legend Solar Stadium will be Sept. 16 against Black Hills State University.
2017 RMAC Preseason Coaches Poll
- CSU-Pueblo (4) – 93 points
- Colorado Mesa (4) – 92 points
- Colo. School of Mines (3) – 82 points
- Dixie State – 69 points
- Black Hills State – 62 points
- South Dakota Mines – 51 points
- Western – 43 points
- Chadron State – 41 points
- Fort Lewis – 37 points
- Adam State – 25 points
- New Mexico Highlands – 10 points
Click HERE to see the full Preseason All-RMAC team
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