Eagles end Bulldog run with 27-20 upset in 3A Sunrise opener

Bulldog Wyatt Delano bulls his way to the one yard line during the Dawgs 27-20 loss to Boulder City on Thursday night.
Photo by Lou Martin

The Virgin Valley High School Bulldogs traveled to Boulder City Thursday night in hopes of continuing their five game winning streak but were upset late in the game by the host Eagles 27-20. The Dawgs as they have done in the past five games came out strong early taking a 13-0 lead before the Eagles dominated the next three periods outscoring the Dawgs 27-7. An early injury to Eagles running back Thorsten Ballmer changed the game plan of Eagles coach Chris Morelli. With their vaunted rushing attack in jeopardy, the Eagles went to an air game which was the difference in the final score of the game. Quarterback Parker Reynolds threw 29 times, almost as much as he threw in the first four games of the preseason.

The Bulldogs opening drive consumed over 8 minutes on 17 plays, with Wyatt Delano going in from 7 yards out. Tanner Shepherds point after was good as the Dawgs led 7-0. The Dawgs defense forced a three and out for the Eagles. The Dawgs downed the punt on their 34 yard line to begin their next drive. Two runs of 11 and 19 yards by Delano ended the first period with the Dawgs on the Eagles 29 yard line. Bulldog quarterback Meb Hollingshead ran it in from 20 yards out on a keeper making the score 13-0 early in the second period. The Eagles struck quickly on the arm of Reynolds making the score 13-6. Reynolds went over from the one yard line, the point after failed. The Dawgs drove to the Eagles 18 yard line but could not finish the drive ending the first half.

The second half began with stalled drives from the teams. The Eagles drove 70 yards on their second possession, the final 11yards on a Reynolds pass and circus catch from Thomas Morton. The point after was good and the ball game was tied 13-13 with 5+ minutes left in the third period. A short punt by the Bulldogs on their next possession motivated the Eagles as they drove to the Dawgs 17 yard line as the period ended. Reynolds hit Jimmie Dunagan for 17 yards giving the Eagles their first lead of the game 19-13. After a punt on their next possession the Bulldogs started their next drive with great field position on the 50 yard line. Hollingshead hit Jake Hampstead for 18 yards, Delano ripped off 16 yards on two carries and Hollingshead finished the drive off going over from the one yard line. Shepherds point after was good giving the Dawgs the lead 20-19 with 3:03 remaining in the game. A good runback on the kickoff set the Eagles up for the winning drive. Three passes gave the Eagles a first down on the Bulldogs 30 yard line. The Bulldogs seemed to hold the Eagles but a questionable interference call gave the Eagles life on the 15 yard line. A 10 yard scamper by Reynolds set up a one yard T.D. from Ballmer. The two point conversion was good from Reynolds to Dunagan giving the Eagles the lead once again 27-20. The Bulldogs still had a chance with 1:06 on the game clock. Two completions by Hollingshead set up a trick play by the Dawgs which failed on an interception by the Eagles as time ran out. “I need to coach better,” said Bulldog coach Matt Woods. “I need to put the kids in good defensive positions to succeed. We just didn’t make plays when we needed. We need to focus and get better before the final game with Moapa Valley which may decide who wins it all.” The Bulldogs rushed for 233 yards to the Eagles 93 with Delano going for 136 and Hollingshead finishing with 70 yards on the ground and 87 yards through the air. The Dawgs travel to Rancho High School on Friday Sept. 28. The Bulldogs will have to win out and hope Moapa beats Boulder to keep their championship hopes alive.

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