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FLAG FOOTBALL: Stingy defense gives Eagles Sunrise title

Boulder City’s Jeanne Carmell may be the best flag football quarterback in Southern Nevada.

But the standout gunslinger doesn’t have to do much when her defense is clicking like it was against Foothill in the Sunrise Region final.

The Eagles used their relentless pass rush Monday to shut out high-powered Foothill, 20-0, and win the Sunrise Region championship at Del Sol.

It was the 12th shutout of the season for Boulder City (21-0), which faces Centennial (19-2) at 4 p.m. Tuesday at Del Sol in the Clark County School District championship.

“I always preach to them that defense wins championship,” said Boulder City coach Chris Morelli, whose team allows an average of 3.7 points. “So far it’s gotten us into it. That’s all I can ask. They understand defense and know what needs to be done.”

Paige Buettner, a junior defensive end/linebacker, was key off the edge in containing speedy Foothill quarterback Jadyn McArthur. Buettner finished with five tackles.

“She just creates havoc with her pass rush,” Morelli said. “She has like 38 sacks (on the season), or something like that. She’s just relentless. She’s going against girls that are twice her size.”

Buettner said: “I wanted to break that quarterback down and cause havoc in there. Just make her completely shut down to take her focus away.”

Leading 7-0, Boulder City nearly gave up a score on Foothill’s opening second-half possession. But after allowing 50 yards on the drive, the Eagles held on fourth-and-10.

Carmell then found Mackenzie Pluta on a 15-yard TD pass with 8:21 left in the game to make it 14-0.

Boulder City also held the Falcons on fourth down from the 13-yard line with 3:05 left to seal the win.

“Our defense has pretty much done that for the whole year,” Morelli said. “We allow a team to go 55 yards, and for some reason, they just block it down there on that goal line. It’s pretty impressive. I’m so proud of those girls the way they play defense.”

Logan Kanaley finished with 11 tackles, and Carmell added 10 tackles for the Eagles.

Carmell completed 6 of 13 passes for 130 yards and two touchdowns — both to Pluta — and added a rushing TD late.

Pluta and Smyth each finished with three catches for 65 yards.

SUNSET REGION

Centennial 20, Palo Verde 18 — Sophomore Aliyah Wyrick scored two first-half touchdowns — one rushing, one receiving — to help Centennial storm out to a 20-6 halftime lead, and the Bulldogs held on to top the Panthers (13-8) in the Sunset Region championship.

“She’s a great athlete,” Centennial coach John Roberts said. “We even had her play some quarterback in the second half. She’s just a phenomenal athlete. We get her on those go-routes and no one can catch her.”

The Bulldogs nearly lost their lead in the second half.

Palo Verde stopped Centennial on fourth-and-2 at midfield five minutes into the second half and went on to score consecutive touchdowns to make it 20-18.

Despite failing on two extra-point attempts, Palo Verde still had one more chance with 1:15 left after forcing Centennial to punt.

The Panthers took over at their own 20-yard line. But quarterback Alyssa Tygh was intercepted by Isabel Barilla to essentially end the game.

The Bulldogs ran the ball to run out the clock.

“We knew they were going to pass,” Roberts said. “So we manned up on the outside, and Izzy can catch pretty much everything out there. She just undercut it and hopped up and we had a safety coming up over the top, so (Tygh) had a tough spot to throw it in. She had to throw it into a window, which is really hard in flag football.”

Centennial’s Lauren Ritter ran for a TD in the first half.

Palo Verde’s Tygh finished with a touchdown run and a 6-yard TD pass to Cydnee Bush. Bush also had a 60-yard touchdown run for the Panthers.

“It was pretty good (to build that first-half lead),” Roberts said. “Our defense has played nails down all season. It’s basically the root of where we’ve gotten to.”

Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at aferguson@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0430. Follow him on Twitter: @af_ferguson.

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