A late touchdown run and a 2-point conversion by quarterback Trenton Carmell helped the Boulder City football team reach its goal of returning to the Southern Region playoffs despite losing its season finale Friday to Virgin Valley, 27-21.
The Eagles (4-5, 2-4 Sunrise) will be a No. 4 seed in the playoffs and play tonight at Faith Lutheran (6-3, 5-2 Sunset) in the opening round. Faith Lutheran broke free from a five-team logjam on the final weekend to win the Sunset League and be the No. 1 seed. Kickoff is at 7 p.m.
Boulder City was eliminated from the playoffs a year ago by Faith Lutheran, which went on to win the state championship.
“We plan to be dangerous,” said Boulder City head coach Alex Kazel, concluding his seventh season. “Anytime a No. 4 seed plays a No. 1 seed, the No. 4 has nothing to lose and can play all out and take risks. People may think that as a No. 4 seed, we aren’t expected to win, but our coaches and players think differently.
“It is natural for a No. 1 seed to look past the No. 4 seed, and the game is coming on a short week because of the Friday school holiday. Playing Thursday also gives us the advantage for an upset.”
The Eagles lost Friday but still won a three-team tiebreaker to advance to the playoffs ahead of Virgin Valley and Del Sol. Virgin Valley (4-5, 2-4) needed to win by at least 13 points to win a tiebreaker for the final playoff spot.
The Eagles finished fourth in the league behind champion Moapa Valley, Chaparral and Desert Pines.
Carmell’s 17-yard touchdown run and 2-point conversion with 1:10 remaining in the final quarter trimmed Virgin Valley’s lead to 27-21. Carmell, who threw for 127 yards, led the offense on its final scoring possession.
The Eagles previously trailed 14-0 and 27-13.
Against Virgin Valley, Boulder City fell behind 14-0 in the first quarter. The Eagles were helped by a 42-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Justin Rockenfeller to make it 14-13. The extra-point kick caromed off the left upright.
Linebacker Jacob Jurgschat said he hopes the Eagles can surprise from the first possession tonight.
“We can’t wait and let them get comfortable in the game,” Jurgschat said. “We have to come out and surprise them and jump all over them before they know we mean business about an upset. Boulder City has a history with Faith Lutheran, and in a rivalry game anything can happen.”
Faith Lutheran defeated Spring Valley 17-8 to clinch the top seed in the Sunset League for the second consecutive year.
Four teams entered Friday night tied at 4-2, but Clark topped Cheyenne and Pahrump Valley beat Sierra Vista to leave Faith Lutheran alone at the top of the Sunset standings.
A loss could have eliminated Faith Lutheran from the postseason.
Five teams tied for second at 4-3 and, after the tiebreakers, Sierra Vista earned the league’s No. 2 seed with Cheyenne No. 3 and Spring Valley No. 4. Mojave and Clark ended up on the outside.
The Boulder City-Faith Lutheran winner advances to the second round of the playoffs Nov. 8. The Eagles again would play on the road if they advance.