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Boulder City footballers capture flags, fly high with undefeated record

“Eagles are the mightiest!” chanted the crowd at the Boulder City High School game. They were cheering for their undefeated football team — their girls’ flag football team, to be exact.

The varsity Boulder City Eagles have won all 18 games they’ve played this year.

Chris Morelli, coach of seven years, attributes the success to the girls.

“They are dedicated, hardworking and they love giving effort,” he says.

The girls are a united, cohesive team, which they believe is partly why they play so well together.

“We bond,” said team member Jollene Gosseli. “We do sleepovers, we go out to dinner, we do everything possible to keep us a close-knit family.”

Although the girls don’t tackle their opponents, the game is dangerous nonetheless. The team members wear protective padding and gear, as well as mouthguards. Jessea Embro broke her thumb in a previous game as she pulled someone’s flag and now sports a cast on the field.

“I can run,” she said, “but I can’t catch the ball how I normally would. The sports therapist said to just grin and bear it for two weeks, then I can be helpful again.”

As part of their ritual for every game, the team and their coach huddle up during half-time for a pep talk. At the qualifying game for playoffs against Foothill, the Eagles were down a couple of points.

“I better see some smiles right now,” Morelli said, “because you gotta know you’re going to win.”

True to Morelli’s word, the girls quickly closed the gap in points. After going into overtime, they won the game by a slight margin.

The team’s secret is persistence.

“The game was so tough, and we get so intense,” Gabrielle Wylupski said. “Once it happens and we get that touchdown, though, we just become so happy.”

As the Eagles fans unclenched their white-knuckle grips, one Boulder City student said, “That was the best high school game I’ve ever seen.”

The Boulder City Eagles now continue to the playoffs. But as they left the field that night, their thoughts already had moved on from this game, and the next. They started talking about how much math homework they had to finish by the next morning. Just like most every high school student.

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