Home USA News Federal Way secures trip to 4A state playoffs with win over Curtis

Federal Way secures trip to 4A state playoffs with win over Curtis

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The Federal Way High School Eagles return to the Class 4A state playoffs.

Coming out of halftime Saturday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium and facing Curtis with a low score, the Eagles found the end zone four times in the second half — including returning a pair of interceptions for touchdowns — to close out a convincing 37-17 win and secure the place in the state grid for the first time since 2014.

“It’s a great feeling,” said Andre Jordan Jr., a senior at Federal Way. “All the hard work we’ve put in is really on display. I’m excited.”

“It means everything in the world, man,” Eagles coach Marcus Izaguirre said. “The children play hard. All credit to the kids, all credit to my coaching staff.”

Both South Sound programs entered this week’s district round with recent momentum — Curtis won its last three 4A SPSL games and Federal Way its last four 4A NPSL contests — and traded points early before the Eagles scored four touchdowns in the first 14 minutes second half to run away with an emphatic victory.

“It’s exciting to do this,” Eagles senior Mackie Piper said. “We put in a lot of hard work and I feel like we had a good game plan.”

At the beginning of the competition, it seemed that this match could go to the last moments.

Curtis took the lead on its first possession, driving into Federal Way territory on 15 plays before Joseph Carini’s 22-yard field goal made it 3-0 midway through the first quarter.

Federal Way answered with the first of Piper’s two rushing touchdowns three drives later, a 29-yarder that gave the Eagles a 7-3 lead midway through the second.

Sophomore Parker Maddy responded with a 19-yarder on the Vikings’ next drive to give Curtis back the lead with 3:23 left in the half.

But the Eagles tied the score on the final play of the quarter when Cadence Reese booted a 37-yard field goal at the buzzer to make it 10-10 at halftime.

Federal Way scored quickly after halftime, and Piper gave the Eagles a lead they would never relinquish with a 9-yard scoring run less than two minutes into the third quarter.

The Eagles then forced Curtis to punt, only to soon turn the ball over in long-range Vikings territory, ending a promising 12-play drive.

Moments later, however, Federal Way’s defense came up with the first of two sharp plays that would prove key in the Eagles’ rally to the eventual victory.

On the first play of the Vikings’ next drive, quarterback Tylin Jackson broke into the backfield and intercepted a pass by Curtis junior quarterback Rock Koch. Eagles four-star cornerback Rashon Clark intercepted a pass at midfield before sprinting down the right sideline for a 50-yard touchdown that gave the Eagles a two-possession lead.

Curtis responded with a quick scoring drive, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by senior Lyndon Tanoa with 1:48 left in the third quarter, but that was the last time the Vikings would reach the end zone.

“Our defense really stepped up to the plate in the second half,” Jordan said. “We said there, ‘We’ve got to stop them,’ and that’s exactly what we did.”

Federal Way extended its lead to several possessions for good minutes on a 19-yard pass from senior Jay O’Neill to Jordan to make it 31-17 early in the fourth.

Any thoughts of a comeback bid were put to rest seconds later when Federal Way freshman Zamair Telles made another key defensive play, picking off another pass on the first play of the Vikings’ next drive. Telles returned an interception 48 yards for a touchdown to give the Eagles their final lead at 37-17 with 10:34 left.

“We’re in a no-fly zone defensively, so that was just a turning point in the game,” Piper said of the two interceptions.

Curtis finished with 299 yards of total offense, most of it on the ground, after Federal Way limited the Vikings to six punts, 74 yards and three interceptions through the air.

Koch added 27 carries for 102 yards to lead the Vikings in rushing, while Tanoa added 88 yards rushing and one touchdown on 17 carries and Maddy had 144 all-purpose yards, one touchdown and an interception on defense.

Curtis (6-4) is coming off the season just shy of making the state playoffs, but with just nine seniors on the roster, looks to return most of its young group next season.

Federal Way tallied 400 yards of total offense in the win, paced by Piper, who rushed for 157 yards and two touchdowns on 14 carries.

O’Neal completed 11 of 23 passes for 187 yards, one touchdown and one interception. Jaylon Jenkins led the Eagles in receiving with four catches for 82 yards, while Clark had three catches for 61 and Jordan three for 47 and a touchdown. Jordan, an Oregon commit, also had a defensive interception in the first half.

Federal Way (8-2) — which has just two losses this season to a pair of 4A state qualifiers in Lake Stevens and Kennedy Catholic — now looks ahead to next week’s first round. The state brackets will be seeded on Sunday.

This story was originally published November 5, 2022 at 11:15 p.m.

Lauren Smith is a sports reporter for The News Tribune. She has covered high school sports for TNT and The Olympian, as well as the Seattle Mariners and Washington Huskies. She graduated from UW and Emerald Ridge High School.

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