63°F
weather icon Clear

Eagles football team earns moral victory against league champs

Friday’s 25-13 loss to Virgin Valley might have been another sign of disappointment on paper for the Boulder City High School football program, which dropped to 1-8 in its season finale, but following their respectable outing with the 3A Sunrise League champion Bulldogs, it’s easy to put this loss in the moral victory category.

“I thought those guys out their played their butts off,” head coach Chris Morelli said. “To have the league champions come into your house and keep it close was a wonderful feeling. At times we had them on the ropes and we just couldn’t capitalize. To be in a position to do that though against this ball club means we played great.”

Playing great would be an understatement Friday night for the lowly Eagles, who forced four turnovers against the 8-1 Bulldogs while stuffing one of the league’s top offense routinely throughout the night.

“Obviously we would have liked to end our careers as Eagles with a victory,” said senior Michael Martinelli, who has been a member of the varsity program since his sophomore season. “Tonight’s game though, even with a loss is just as special, because of the heart we all gave out there. That’s a really good team we faced, but we kept it respectable because we wanted it. We went after it all night, not just the seniors, but our juniors and sophomores as well. It’s an emotional night, but one we should be able to keep our heads held high.”

Giving it their best efforts in front of a nearly sold-out crowd, the Eagles held the Bulldogs to 272 yards of total offense, while holding lead rusher Jayden Perkins to just 92 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries. Opportunistic on defense as well, senior Michael Woodard and sophomores Jimmy Dunagan and Gino Carroll all scooped up fumbles, while sophomore Travis Hungerford forced Virgin Valley quarterback Cade Anderson into an interception.

“Our defense had their best game of the season tonight,” Morelli said. “They finally came alive and played like they should have all season. We’re excited though especially for our junior and sophomore contributors to have played this game and see how things are supposed to be done. We have a long ways to go, but we’re already looking for this momentum to carry into next season.”

Sophomores Thortson Balmer (14 tackles and one sack), Dunagan (10 tackles) and Hungerford (seven tackles) led the Eagles’ charge.

The defense wasn’t the only unit to step up for the Eagles. Senior quarterback Taylor Hatchel churned out the type of performance that many had hoped he would when he transferred from Legacy Christian Academy in Texas. Completing 10-of-17, Hatchel was the Eagles’ driving force on offense, totaling 117 yards, including a fourth-quarter, 47-yard touchdown to junior receiver Zach Trone. Catching a quick 10-yard pattern, Trone made a move to the inside before turning up field for what could be the Eagles’ highlight of the season.

“Zach made a great move,” Hatchel said. “I threw it up where I knew only he could get it and he made the rest happen. To end my senior year with a touchdown, there’s no better feeling.”

Trone ended the night with his lone 47-yard touchdown reception, while Hungerford contributed on offense as well with four catches for 31 yards. Senior Dillon Viera hauled in two catches for 20 yards and rushed for 32 yards on six carries, while junior Briggs Huxford caught three passes for 19 yards.

With a majority of the roster’s eyes on next season, 13 seniors played their last game under the Friday night lights. Emotional about his final outing with teammates he called his family, Martinelli offered a few last words for his Eagle brothers.

“Being an Eagle has meant everything to me,” Martinelli said. “This has been a huge part of my life since I was in sixth grade, when I first met these guys and my coaches. It’s tough to think that I’ll never be out on this field again with them. We had a lot of great experiences, ones I wouldn’t change for anything. I’m proud of what we created together.”

Contact Robert Vendettoli at BCRsports@gmail.com.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
THE LATEST
School teams prepare to start season

A step in the right direction to resuming high school athletics, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association has shifted into its third phase of COVID-19 modifications, moving closer to its target date of Jan. 2 for the start of winter sports.

Grothe starts season with win

Zane Grothe, a 2010 Boulder City High School graduate, finished first in the 400-meter freestyle Sunday, Oct. 18, in Budapest, Hungary, as the professional International Swimming League began its new season.

Lone Pine visit like walking onto movie set

Lone Pine, California is a laid-back town of around 2,000 people in Owens Valley on the foothills of the eastern Sierra Nevada. You’ve probably heard of it because it’s used as a base camp for hiking Mount Whitney, located just 12 miles west. What you might not know is Lone Pine is also home to the Alabama Hills, which draw people from around the world for their recreational opportunities and their rich film history.

Play ball; sports set to return

Youth sports are back in Nevada for the first time since last March, thanks to Gov. Steve Sisolak’s announcement Oct. 2 that he would be easing restrictions on local recreational sports.

Camp, picnic or bird-watch at bend along river

Big Bend of the Colorado State Recreation Area is at the southern tip of Nevada, along the Colorado River, about 6 miles south of Laughlin. It’s a great place to visit, even for a day trip, as it’s not too far from Boulder City, about 85 miles away.

Easter, Williams win title at state bass championship

Izec Easter and Corey Williams, members of the Boulder City Bass Club, placed first at the 2020 Nevada High School State Championship on Sept. 20 at Cottonwood Cove at Lake Mohave.

Fall colors add to Zion’s scenic views

With cooler autumn temperatures upon us, my thoughts always go to Zion National Park in Utah. Just a few hours’ drive from Boulder City, the park seems worlds away with its majestic red sandstone monoliths, mature deciduous trees and diverse wildlife surrounding the banks of the North Fork of the Virgin River.

Gilliam eyes career with MLB

Establishing his place as one of the top players in Nevada as only a sophomore, Boulder City High School baseball star Jet Gilliam has verbally committed to California State University, Long Beach.

Travel team puts baseball players on college scout’s radar

Jet Gilliam and Seth Graham-Pippen, sophomores at Boulder City High School and future stars of its baseball program, have carved out their own their futures playing this summer with Nevada’s Prep Baseball Report travel team.

Eagles athletes win baseball tourney

The Southern Nevada Eagles 18u team from Boulder City won the Rocky Mountain School of Baseball’s Labor Day tournament in Salt Lake City.