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Eagles flying iuto post season
By COLE COSGROVE
The Federal Way football team is in the playoffs for the second time in three years, but will face a tough challenge if it wants to make it past the first round.
Federal Way (6-2) plays KingCo champion Bothell (8-0) at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pop Keeney Stadium.
In Wednesdays final game of the regular season against Bethel, Federal Way not only lost the game but one of its best players. Senior defensive back and wide receiver Andre Piper-Jordan went down with a broken ankle in the third quarter. He will be out four to eight weeks, miss the rest of the football season and the first part of the basketball season.
It was Piper-Jordan who helped Federal Way take a 7-0 lead in Wednesdays game before eventually giving up five unanswered touchdowns in a 35-14 loss to the No. 1 ranked team in the state.
On the scoring drive, Jeremy Day lofted a pass down the left side and Piper-Jordan out-leaped his defender to make the catch and run for the 53-yard touchdown.
After the Eagles were flagged for a 15-yard celebration penalty, Jeff Thatcher converted a crucial 35-yard point-after-touchdown kick to help the Eagles maintain momentum.
We started off well, Federal Way coach John Meagher said. We had a big stop on fourth down on defense, then we went down and scored. At the beginning it was playing out just like I figured. What I didnt figure on is that our defense would have some tackling problems. But a lot of that has to do with the Bethel Braves. Theyre tough kids and a very good football team. Our kids played well and hard, Im proud of their effort, but it didnt work out for us.
Bethel, showing why it is ranked so highly, came back with three touchdowns in the second quarter.
The Federal Way defense gave up rushing touchdowns of 36 and 54 yards. Bethel quarterback Johnny DuRocher finally warmed up on the crisp night and threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to David Lewis.
Federal Way had a chance to score before the end of halftime. Day found Piper-Jordan for a 34-yard gain, down to the Bethel 13-yard line with 19-seconds left in the half.
One play later, Day floated a pass into the end zone intended for Piper-Jordan, who was taken down by Bethel defenders before he could get to the ball. No pass-interference penalty was called and Bethels Lewis came up with an interception, which he returned 94 yards until he was brought down by a touchdown-saving tackle by Omar Arizpe.
In the second half, the University of Oregon-bound DuRocher connected on touchdown passes of 54 and 44 yards to put the game out of reach.
Federal Way sophomore C.J. Green broke away for a 97-yard touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
Despite the loss, the Eagles enter the playoffs knowing they can compete with some of the best teams in the state.
As tough as it was losing to Bethel, it gives the kids a feel for what playoff football is like, Meagher said. This is where we wanted to be at the end of the season.