Boulder City opened up its 73rd season of football with a 21-9 road loss to Clark after surrendering a fourth-quarter lead. It’s the second straight year the Chargers handed the Eagles an opening-night setback.
Penalties, mistakes and rust were problematic for the Eagles, much to the dismay of head coach Chris Morelli.
“Just a lot of mistakes,” Morelli said. “We get in the red zone four or five times and the mistakes just piled up and killed us.”
Offsides, illegal formations and false starts halted any momentum the Eagles had going drive after drive.
Clark opened the scoring with a touchdown on its third drive of the game, but couldn’t convert the extra point. A few series later, a botched snap by the Chargers punt team resulted in a safety for Boulder City, making the score 6-2 heading into the half.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Michael Morgan scored the first touchdown of the season for Boulder City on a 4-yard run, giving the Eagles a 9-6 advantage.
That lead was short-lived, however, as on the next drive, Clark’s Milan Dixon broke free for a 79-yard touchdown run. The Chargers converted the 2-point conversion to make the score 14-6.
The youthfulness of the Boulder City defense was exposed as Clark’s Dixon rushed for 246 yards and three touchdowns. The 5-foot-6-inch running back sealed the victory by scoring his third touchdown of the game late in the fourth quarter.
“We’re not as fast as most teams on defense,” Morelli said. “We have some young guys out there. This is their first year playing varsity, so the speed’s a little different.”
Austin Wishard had an off night in his first start of the 2015 season, but Morelli has faith in his 6-2, 165-pound quarterback, who displayed some impressive arm strength that didn’t show up on the stat sheet.
The triple-option, spread offense run by the Eagles was effective against the Chargers defense in spots. Morelli said when ran properly, he liked what was produced on the field by his tandem backfield of Morgan and Logan Branscum.
Despite the opening loss, the Eagles have time to right the ship before conference play starts.
Morelli said they plan on using the next two games — both of which are at home — to work out all the kinks before their conference opener against Del Sol.
“I know we can throw this ball and we’re not going to abandon the passing game,” Morelli said. “I know we can run the ball and we’re going to stick to the game plan through these next two games leading up to league play.”
Boulder City will host Quest Preparatory at 7 p.m. Friday.
Contact Randy Faehnrich at BCRsports@gmail.com.