Football: Eagles and Gators battle for playoff spot

"This is the game high school football fans in Federal Way have been waiting for for years.It's not the state championship, but it might as well be, as scarce as playoff games have been here over the past two decades.The Decatur Gators and Federal Way Eagles face off at 7 p.m. Friday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium in what most likely will determine which of those two teams is going to the playoffs.This is a huge game. We're telling the kids today it's money time, said Federal Way coach John Meagher. It's their Homecoming and their seniors' last home game. It's a situation where two Federal Way teams are playing for a playoff spot. Barring a catastrophic event, either the Federal Way Eagles or the Decatur Gators will play in the postseason in two weeks.Both the Eagles and Gators hold their own destiny in their hands. If either team wins its final two games, it's going to the playoffs.Decatur coach Rik Haines said he isn't looking anywhere past Federal Way. Then he'll look to Jefferson in the Gators' regular season finale.I wouldn't know, I just want to win one, Haines said when asked about the playoff scenarios. After we play Jefferson, if we win enough games we'll play another one. We really haven't talked about it.What the Gators have spoken of is the talent on Federal Way's side of the field. Haines lists Eagle quarterback Tui Avaava and running back Shaun Bodiford among the league's elite players. I think we're playing as good a Federal Way team as there's been in a long time, Haines said. They have a lot of weapons. We're just going to go out and play. We're not going to concentrate on one guy. We kind of hope they have to adjust to us more than we have to adjust to them.Haines points to Federal Way's close games with Bethel and Spanaway Lake and the Eagles' win over Puyallup, three teams that handed Decatur substantial losses, as reason for Federal Way to be the favorite.They've got it all going for them. We should be the underdogs, Haines said. I just look at the comparisons. I don't know how we're in the game. But we're going to show up.Meagher looks at Decatur's amazing comeback win over Rogers last Friday as a sign the Gators cannot be overlooked.That was incredible, absolutely incredible, Meagher said of Decatur's 35-34 overtime win at Rogers. To make it (the winning touchdown) on fourth-and-10, they've just got to be pumped up.The one certain way for Federal Way or Decatur to make the playoffs is for Rogers to lose to Puyallup on Friday. The Rams are the only other team that can sneak in for that fourth playoff berth.Federal Way could actually move into the South Division's No. 3 seed into the district playoffs if it wins both of its final games and Puyallup loses to Rogers and Bethel.The only way both Federal Way and Decatur would not make the playoffs is if Decatur beats Federal Way and then loses to Jefferson and the Eagles end the season with a loss to Rogers. And that only works if the Rams upset Puyallup Friday night.Bethel and Spanaway Lake have already clinched postseason berths. "

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