Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014 | 2 a.m.
Las Vegas Sun sports reporters Ray Brewer and Case Keefer try to contain their excitement for the start of the football season enough to get through the first slate of games. They also discuss the two defending state champions, Bishop Gorman and Faith Lutheran.
These were the types of teams Alex Kazel envisioned coaching when he accepted the Boulder City coaching job seven years ago.
There was no stark learning curve when the Eagles commenced practice this summer. They knew what was expected.
It’s driven into their psyches by now.
“The kids have been there playing in the same system for about five years now,” Kazel explained.
A senior-laden group will look to bring Boulder City to the Division 1A playoffs for the third consecutive year in 2014. The Eagles return a high number of starters, including the majority of their offense from a year ago.
They’re also not as strapped for depth as in most years with the roster size boosted by at least a few extra names.
“We’ve been close since we were kids,” senior receiver Brooks Roe described Boulder City’s camaraderie. “I know we can work together, and I know it’s going to work throughout the season.”
Roe is the place to start when looking at major contributors for the Eagles this season. With Boulder City’s top two running backs from last year graduated, Roe comes in as the leading returning rusher as he compiled more than 400 yards and 5 yards per carry last season.
He was also the team’s leading receiver with six catches for 112 yards. If Kazel is to be believed, Roe’s receiving numbers are a cinch to rocket this season.
“We’re doing a few things different this year — throwing the ball a little more, switching things up,” Kazel said.
Kazel has promised the advent of a more steady passing game before without totally following through. There are reasons to believe this year could be different, though.
In addition to a No. 1 target like Roe, Boulder City brings back its quarterback from 2013. Phillip Carmell progressed as his junior season went on, and Kazel thinks his passer is poised for another step forward.
“When it comes down to the playbook,” Carmell stated confidently, “we are going to know what to do because we’re going to be running the same plays.”
And Carmell will be running them behind a dependable offensive line that includes senior guards Jack Rozycki and Andrew Sands. A duo of tight ends, senior Jake Jurgschat and junior Jacob Gneiting, is also formidable.
As always, Boulder City will start with its run game. Junior Logan Branscum is in position to succeed last year’s running backs.
Put it all together, and Boulder City has something it’s been eagerly awaiting to unveil. Carmell feels Friday night’s opener against Clark at home is more important than a typical first game.
“Big for us,” he said. “We’ve got to come out strong and show everyone we’re not just going to be stepped on. I think that’s going to be huge for us. We need to come out and win.”