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Football: Keenan Curran’s all-around game leads Eagles into 2013 season
Expectations are always high when it comes to the football program at Federal Way High School. That’s just what happens when you play for the Eagles, who have won the last two South Puget Sound League South Division titles and haven’t lost a league game since the 2010 season.
But guys like senior Keenan Curran relish putting on the blue and white Federal Way uniform. Curran, a quarterback/safety, is the latest elite football player for the Eagles.
“Keenan is a playmaker on the football field,” said longtime head coach John Meagher. “He can make a difference with the ball in his hands on offense and as safety on defense. He has a knack for making plays.”
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound athlete will join the growing list of Eagles to sign a Division-I scholarship following the season. According to the numerous high-school recruiting websites, Curran is Washington’s second-ranked defensive back. He currently holds offers from college programs like Montana, Eastern Washington, Yale, Wyoming, Portland State, Army, Air Force, San Jose State and Idaho.
In the last two years alone, seven Federal Way football players have inked full-ride scholarships to play in college.
“I can’t wait for the season to start,” Curran said.
As a junior, Curran was a first-team, All-SPSL South selection at defensive back for the Eagles. Curran finished with three interceptions and returned one for a touchdown. He also played numerous positions on the offensive side of the ball, including quarterback and wide receiver. Curran will take over this season as the full-time quarterback.
“I don’t think that I have ever been a full-time, starting quarterback,” Curran said. “But I think that I can handle it. I kind of just play wherever the coaches need me. I would play offensive line, defensive line, nose guard, tight end, wherever I can help the team win.”
But it’s his work in the defensive backfield and his athleticism that has all the college coaches drooling. Curran proved he was one of the best all-around athletes in the state last spring when he won the Class 4A state championship in the triple jump with a leap of 46-feet, 1.25 inches.
Curran, along with senior teammate Jay-Tee Tuili, were both listed on the MaxPreps 2013 Washington Preseason All-State Team on the defensive side of the ball. Tuili is a 6-foot-3, 300-pound defensive lineman.
“I don’t really focus on personal goals,” he said. “But I always wanted to be on the preseason all-state team.”
Curran spent this summer visiting several of the schools recruiting him, and even participating in camps at a few of them.
“I’m not really in a rush to decide where I’m going to college,” Curran said. “I’m going to focus on our season and then focus on where I’m going to play in college after that.”
Curran did a lot of looking around this summer. He visited a number of the schools recruiting him and also participated in camps at Arizona State, Boise State, Montana, Eastern Washington and Utah State.
But those college coaches will have to wait for Curran’s signature. His mind is solely on getting the Eagles a third-straight SPSL South title and advancing to the program’s first-ever state title.
“I’m confident in all the guys,” Curran said. “Last year, we had a buzz about us and this year people aren’t expecting as much. Personally, this team looked better so far than last year.”
And that’s saying quite a bit. The 2012 version of the Eagles featured four seniors who signed Division I scholarships and were the second-ranked Class 4A team in the state for most of the season.
“I think that we have a lot more depth this year,” he said.
Helping Curran on the offensive side of the ball will be junior all-everything running back Chico McClatcher. As a sophomore, McClatcher proved to be one of the most electric offensive threats in the state, scoring a grand total of 17 touchdowns.
McClatcher finished with 615 yards on just 62 carries at running back, including six touchdown runs. He also caught 11 passes for 337 yards, including seven touchdown catches. He also returned four punts for touchdowns and averaged 31 yards per return.
“He has put on some weight and he is even more explosive than last year,” Curran said. “I didn’t think that was possible. He’s just an amazing athlete.”
Both Curran and McClatcher, along with the rest of the veterans on the Eagles, won’t be lacking for motivation entering this season. The returners have a very bitter taste in their mouths thanks to the final game of the 2012 season.
The Camas Papermakers dominated the previously-unbeaten Eagles in a Class 4A state quarterfinal, 65-32. The game was played with a running clock for a bulk of the second half thanks to Camas leading by more than 40 points.
“That definitely helped during the offseason,” Curran said. “That really left a bad taste. I wish we would have had a tougher game earlier in the season.”
Federal Way essentially cruised through the nine-game SPSL regular season, outscoring its opponents, 47-13.
“Everybody on this team has to play with the main focus on their jobs,” Curran said. “If we do that, we are going to be fine.”
But the Eagles will only go as far as Curran can take them, according to Meagher.
“He is special because of his overall attitude,” said Meagher. “He is a hard worker and a great leader. I trust that Keenan will give his best, not for individual glory, but for the glory of the team. He is a true Eagle.”