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Lady Eagles battle for first place in league

The football battle for first place is scheduled for Friday at Boulder City’s stadium.

This time, though, it’s not the boys who are drawing the crowd into the on-campus facility, but rather the surprising girls flag football team in only its second year of varsity play.

Boulder City, at 9-0 overall, is one of only two unbeaten teams in Clark County at the season’s halfway point. There are 34 teams competing in four leagues. Arbor View is 9-0 in the Northwest League.

The Lady Eagles are 7-0 in the Southeast League and face their toughest opponent to date at 5 p.m. Friday with Foothill — a team that averages more than 350 yards of offense and nearly 35 points per game.

Foothill is 10-2 overall, but 7-0 in the Southeast League and tied with Boulder City for first place. The winner Friday moves into sole possession of first place. Foothill has lost twice to nonleague opponent Rancho, 13-1 overall. The Falcons lost 27-13 on Dec. 5 and 39-27 on Dec. 7.

“This should be fun,” Lady Eagles head coach Chris Morelli said. “This game is about respect, Foothill is the larger school and has one of the best teams around, and we have to show them that we belong on the field with them.”

Sophomore quarterback Jeanne Carmell hopes to do just that.

“Playing Foothill is a challenge, but that doesn’t mean we can’t beat them,” Carmell said. “I don’t think they will be expecting our kind of game this season and that we can surprise them.

“But no matter what happens, we have to keep striving for our season’s goal. Our goal was to make the playoffs because we didn’t last year. Foothill is a great opponent with a big reputation. It is one game, but our overall goal is to make the playoffs. We need to play our best game and continue to believe in ourselves.”

Carmell is a double threat at the quarterback position and as a runner.

“Jeanne has an extremely strong, accurate arm and at any given time she can tuck the ball and run,” Morelli said. “She has done some amazing things in the backfield eluding pass rushers and extending the play.”

Carmell has completed 70 passes of her 119 attempts for 1,106 yards and 17 touchdowns. As a runner, she had gained 318 yards on 45 attempts. She has scored four touchdowns.

Also leading the Lady Eagles is Kinsey Smyth, a force on both sides of the ball.

Smyth is fourth in the county in receiving with 39 receptions for 616 yards and nine touchdowns. On defense as a safety, Smyth leads the county with 13 interceptions in nine games.

“Kinsey has a knack for finding the ball,” Morelli said. “She has caused teams to adjust their passing game and or abandon it all together.”

Carmell and the offense rely on several threats like Smyth, along with Mackenzie Pluta, Jollene Gosselin, Jessica Embro, Bryanna Lopez, Taylor Finn and Courtney Scott.

“I am not kidding when I say they all have great pass-catching abilities,” Morelli said.

But this season, the Lady Eagles have been winning games with their defense, too. In nine games they have allowed only 60 points.

“The girls have taken pride on the defensive side of the ball and allowing only 60 points in nine games is due to a lot of players really playing hard,” Morelli said.

The defense is anchored by the linebacker core of sisters Logan and Cameron Kanaley and Paige Buettner. The pass rush also has been a key component to the defense, led by Embro and Alejandra Restrepo.

The defensive corners are guarded by Gosselin, Makenzy Waldo, Jane Nevarez and Ashlen Bahtia, whom Morelli said have “done an outstanding job in the secondary of understanding the different schemes and getting to the ball.”

Carmell completed 17 of 29 passes for 251 yards and four touchdowns, and added 65 yards rushing as Boulder City defeated Liberty 33-6. Smyth, Pluta, Gosselin and Cameron Kanaley each caught a touchdown pass for Boulder City.

Smyth finished with eight catches for 161 receiving yards on offense, and added two interceptions on defense for the Eagles.

The daunting task Friday is to stop Foothill quarterback Sam Fennell, the county’s top passer. So far this season, in 11 games, Fennell has passed for more than 4,000 yards and 43 touchdowns.

This past Friday, Fennell threw for 331 yards and three touchdowns in a 41-0 victory over Tech. Fennell completed 21 passes and threw for 284 yards and three touchdowns as the Falcons rolled 39-12 past Chaparral on Jan. 6.

Friday is just Round 1. Boulder City and Foothill close out the regular season Feb. 12 with a game at Foothill.

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