Saturday, Nov. 8, 2008 | 11:07 p.m.
Though tears flowed due to the close of another football season, the Eagles knew that by finishing the season at 5-5, they did more than any prognosticators, maybe even themselves, believed they could.
After all, the team was coming off a 3-7 record a year ago and a 1-8 mark the year before that. Boulder City even broke in a new coaching staff to boot, but never stopped working.
"These guys gave me a great effort, the best I've ever had from a group," first-year coach Alex Kazel said. "No one will ever know how far they came from May to now. With a brand new system and new coaches, this year was supposed to be a struggle. But these guys far exceeded what most people thought they would do."
The coach said the team will return 8-9 players on offense and 5-6 on defense that received significant playing time next year. He added the Eagles would be a force to be reckoned with in 3A for years to come.
Tight end and linebacker Shane Levin predicted the team would continue to grow under its new leadership.
"The program has improved 100 percent from last year," Levin said. "These coaches are the best I've ever had. Learning a whole new offense was tough but next year the guys should be pretty good at it."
The Eagles had chances to win at Virgin Valley early as they took a 20-14 lead into halftime, but five second-half turnovers doomed their offense as the Bulldogs scored 25 unanswered points to close out the game.
Boulder City scored the game's first points when Chris Leach scooped up a Virgin Valley fumble caused by Steven Kaposta and returned it seven yards for a touchdown midway through the first quarter. The Bulldogs scored on their next possession when Terran Leavitt connected with Daniel Gleave for a 20-yard touchdown on the last play of the first quarter.
Boulder City reclaimed the lead on a one-yard quarterback keeper by Jake Phillips, but a second failed two-point conversion made the score 12-8. Virgin Valley answered again its next series on a seven-yard run by Leavitt. The lead then changed a third time when the Eagles scored again on an 11-yard run by Leach.
The wheels then came off for Boulder City early in the third quarter when Virgin Valley's Jonathan Gleave intercepted a Ryan Washburn pass and returned it 90 yards the other way for a touchdown. On its next drive, Boulder City fumbled and the Bulldogs recovered at the Eagles' 17-yard line.
Gleave scored on a 17-yard pass from Leavitt moments later to give Virgin Valley a 26-20 lead.
"Every game we've lost this year we've had turnovers and made those mistakes," Kazel said. "You can't win ball games when you turn the ball over as many times as we did especially against a good team like Virgin Valley."
Boulder City fumbled again on the ensuing kickoff and the Bulldogs scored four plays later on a 11-yard run by Colton Teerlink. Virgin Valley added a six-yard touchdown by Teerlink to ice the game shortly after another Boulder City interception.
"We had a bunch of turnovers, but we played our hardest," running back Spencer Sasarita said. "We thought we had a chance to take this game. But this season was a big turnaround from previous records we've had at BC. We wish we could have gone farther but we did better than probably anyone expected."
Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or firstname.lastname@example.org.