Sports

Federal Way loses 'unbelievable game'

By CASEY OLSON

Sports editor

Each time Federal Way scores, the Eagle cheerleaders ring a bell one time for every point. Thursday night three different bell ringers were needed — you’re arm can only take so many rings.

The Rogers Rams (2-2) outlasted the Eagles 66-62 in front of a stunned and awe-struck crowd at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

“I’ve been around football for a long time and I’ve never seen anything like what happened today,” Federal Way coach John Meagher told his team after the 3 hour, 11 minute game. “This was the most unbelievable game I have ever seen.”

A total of 128 points and 16 touchdowns were put on the board, including an amazing nine touchdowns of 49 yards or longer and three running backs going for over 190 yards on the ground.

But it was 34-yard reverse on a fourth-and-eight with 1:20 left in the fourth quarter that broke the Eagles’ back. Junior receiver Brandon Gibson took a handoff around the right side of the Federal Way defense on a make-or-break play for the Rams.

“That can’t happen on a fourth-and-eight,” Meagher said. “In a situation like that we gotta make a play.”

The Gibson touchdown, his third of the day, came after a 51-yard scoring run by junior tailback C.J. Green gave Federal Way a 62-59 lead with just 2:20 left.

The agonizing defeat drops the Eagles to 1-3 in the South Puget Sound League South Division and gives them as many losses as they had the entire season a year ago. It was also the fourth time Federal Way has led in the second half — losing three of them.

“I am proud of the kids,” Meagher said. They could have gave up, but they didn’t. These kids showed a lot of character.”

Rogers jumped out early on the Eagles — scoring 14 points before the Federal Way offense even touched the ball. Rogers senior Tyler Pugh took the first play from scrimmage right up the gut for a 69-yard touchdown and on the ensuing kickoff the Eagle return team didn’t pick up the ball, giving the Rams possession back. Pugh then took it in from 6 yards out to put Rogers up 14-0.

“We had some special teams breakdowns and that is something we have got to fix,” Meagher said. “We just haven’t been able to get over the hump this year.”

Pugh finished with 284 yards and three touchdowns on the night. But 218 of those yards came in the first half when he ran through a porous Federal Way defense. Rams quarterback Neil Spencer finished the game 11-for-23 for 145 yards and three touchdowns. But the senior signal-caller had -2 yards passing in the second half. Senior receiver Jeff Schwab finished with 126 yards and three touchdowns, including a 77-yard punt return for a score. But caught only one ball for -3 yards in the final two quarters.

“Our defense played a lot better in the second half,” Meagher said.

The Federal Way offense also stepped it up after the halftime whistle — thanks to the running of Green and sophomore Chris English. Green, the third leading rusher in the SPSL entering the game, finished with 203 yards and four touchdowns and English tallied an amazing 193 yards on just five carries — an average of 38.6 yards a carry. English took the first play of the second half untouched 64 yards to pull the Eagles to 38-28 after three Green first-half touchdowns and bolted 65 yards later in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 52-52 with 7:01 remaining.

Green followed with an interception at the Rams’ 15-yard line, which led to a 35-yard field goal by senior Jeff Thatcher to give the Eagles their first lead of the game at 55-52 with just 3:44 left. But they couldn’t hold on.

“Our kids showed a lot of character coming back,” Meagher said. “But it’s still a loss.”

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565, sports@fedwaymirror.com

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