Sports

Eagles hope for playoff redemption

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

John Meagher and the rest of his Federal Way Eagle football team have some lofty goals entering the 2003 South Puget Sound League season.

“We want to return to the playoffs and take care of some unfinished business,” said Meagher, who is entering his sixth season at the helm of the Eagle program.

Last season, the Eagles rolled to a 7-2 regular season in the SPSL South, only to be ousted in the first round of the Class 4A state playoffs by Bothell.

But this year’s edition of the Eagles will have to do without their marquee players from a season ago. Gone are wide receiver/defensive back/kick returner Andre Piper-Jordan and running back/defensive back Anthony Dotson. Both signed with Eastern Washington University. Piper-Jordan caught 23 passes for 400 yards and seven touchdowns and ran for 326 yards in punt and kickoff returns, including an 89-yard touchdown against Puyallup. Dotson had 157 carries for 984 yards and 13 touchdowns. Also gone is starting quarterback Jeremy Day.

“Those are going to be big shoes to replace,” Meagher said.

Meagher and his staff won’t be counting on the big play, like he did last season with Piper-Jordan and Dotson. The focus will be on the “big uglies” up front. The Eagles won’t mind pounding the ball on the ground behind a solid offensive line and stuffing the opposing team’s run-game defensively with players like seniors Antonio Lindsey, Roque Martinez and Steve Ottenad.

“That is kind of where our strength lies,” Meagher said. “We are very good up front. They are the blue-collar guys.”

Lindsey, a 6-foot-2, 285-pounder, is getting national attention during the summer and should be a Division I recruit before the season ends. He is getting looks from the University of Washington, Oregon and attended a camp at Nebraska, where he performed well, according to Meagher.

“We are obviously excited about him,” he said. “He moves well.”

Lindsey and the rest of the line will be clearing holes for junior C.J. Green, who will take over for Dotson at the tailback position. Green racked up over 400 yards last season, including a 130-yard effort against Emerald Ridge. Senior Scott Lelli will take over for Day at quarterback and will be throwing the ball to senior Jeff Thatcher and junior Rodell Razor at wide receiver.

“We need to get some guys to step up,” Meagher said. “Our quarterback looks good and he got some time last year.”

Defensively, the secondary is the concern for Federal Way coaches. Green will also be the lone returner in the defensive backfield. He started all 10 games last year with Dotson, Piper-Jordan and Day. Thatcher and Razor will see time at cornerback and juniors Marcus Trice and J.J. Hannible will fight for the free safety job.

“The secondary is a problem area that we need to shore up,” Meagher said.

The linebacking corps will include seniors Marcus Brown, Webster Pele and Peter Livingston.

The Eagles will open Friday at Spanaway Lake. Bethel looks like the team to beat again this year in the South. The Braves won the league last year and spent most of the year as the top-ranked team in the state.

“They reloaded,” Meagher said. “But it is the SPSL and there is some great football played in this league. You don’t have a night off.”

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