Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun
Friday, Oct. 24, 2014 | 11:55 p.m.
Paongo helped Virgin Valley improve to 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Division I-A Sunrise race, but it was Boulder City (4-5, 2-4) that clinched the league’s final bid to the I-A Southern Region playoffs via tiebreaker rules.
The Eagles will open the postseason at I-A Sunset No. 1 seed and defending I-A state champion Faith Lutheran at 7 p.m. Thursday.
“A lot of kids stepped up and played hard tonight who hadn’t been starters all year,” Boulder City coach Alex Kazel said. “Kids got thrown into the fire; they reacted the right way and battled. Hopefully, we’ll be closer to full strength (for the playoffs).”
Virgin Valley used a 9-yard touchdown pass from Tony Urias to Diego Burriel and Paongo’s 32-yard fumble return to build a 14-0 second-quarter lead.
In the second half, the Bulldogs got a 64-yard touchdown run from Paongo and a 30-yard TD strike from Urias to Nick Cox.
Boulder City had a 5-yard touchdown run from Nelson Van Diest, a 44-yard interception return for a score by Justin Rockenfeller and a 17-yard touchdown run by Trenton Carmell.
Carmell’s TD run pulled the Eagles within 27-21, and Boulder City got the ball back with 12 seconds remaining, but was unable to score a desperation TD.
Carmell finished 8-for-15 passing for 127 yards, hooking up with Zach Murphy four times for 67 yards along with a 40-yarder to Austin Wishard.
Boulder City’s Van Diest ran for 45 yards on nine carries, and Austin Shepard added 39 yards rushing on 10 attempts.
Virgin Valley’s Cox had two catches for 40 yards, and Cody Jones had six carries for 37 yards.