The third-ranked Federal Way Eagles got a scare in their season-opener Friday night at Puyallup's Sparks Stadium.
But, like they have done for the past two years, the Eagles found a way to win the South Puget Sound League South Division game. Federal Way exploded and scored 34 points in the second half to beat the Rogers Rams, 62-42.
The Eagles, who have won the last two SPSL South title with unbeaten records, trailed by 15 points during the second quarter. Their last league loss came in 2010.
Federal Way leaned on its star players against the Rams. Keenan Curran and Chico McClatcher led the Eagles to the victory. Curran, the Eagles' quarterback, finished with a career-high 274 yards on just 18 carries. McClatcher rushed 11 times for 102 yards. The pair also hooked up on a 53-yard pass.
The Rams bolted out to a 15-0 lead and led 29-28 at halftime. Rogers extended that lead when quarterback Grayson Madland hooked up with Kyler Ooley on a 71-yard touchdown on their opening possession, extending the lead to 36-28.
But it was all Federal Way from that point on. The Eagles tallied four consecutive touchdowns to put the game away. James Black scored on a 15-yard run, David Tiumalu ran back an interception 20 yards, McClatcher caught the 53-yard TD and Curran bolted 60 yards. Curran added another 51-yard touchdown run late in the game.
Federal Way's first-half touchdowns came on a 19-yard McClatcher run, a 3-yard Eric Ah Fua run, a 37-yard fumble return by Charlie Taumoepeau and a 10-yard TD run by Curran.
The Eagles host the Emerald Ridge Jaguars on Thursday night in another key SPSL South contest.
(Pictured: Thomas Jefferson High School senior quarterback Niko DelaCruz.)
Thomas Jefferson 32, Kentlake 7
The Raiders kicked off their season with a big-time win over the perennial power Kentlake Falcons on Friday at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
The Falcons, who finished 6-4 a season ago, were picked by the league's coaches to finish at or near the top of the SPSL North, while TJ was predicted to finish near the bottom.
The Raiders scored 20 points in the second quarter and got a pair of touchdowns from junior running back Zach Grayson.
Grayson led off the scoring with a 32-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, but the Raiders missed the extra point. Kentlake then went right down the field to tally its only touchdown of the night to take a 7-6 lead.
But it was all TJ from there. The Raiders took the lead for good when Heng Yon returned a Kentlake fumble 39 yards for a touchdown. Senior fullback Shane Seumae scored on a 6-yard run, and Grayson caught a 6-yard touchdown pass from senior quarterback Niko DelaCruz late in the second quarter to give Jefferson a 26-7 halftime lead.
Lonyea Jones collected the lone score of the second half when he caught a 10-yard pass from DelaCruz in the fourth quarter.
Defensively, the Raiders were led by Alex Norton, who forced two fumbles and recovered two more.
The Raiders host the Kentwood Conquerors in a huge early-season SPSL North clash Friday night. Kentwood downed seventh-ranked Auburn in its opening game Friday.
Puyallup 37, Beamer 21
The Todd Beamer Titans held a pair of leads Saturday against the Puyallup Vikings, but couldn't hold them before losing the SPSL South Division game at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.
Beamer jumped on top of the Vikings in the first quarter when quarterback Taylor Davis hit Christian Stafford on a 21-yard touchdown pass. Puyallup battled back with a pair of touchdowns to take a 14-7 lead.
Davis and Stafford hooked up again, this time on a 75-yarder to tie the game. Beamer's Brody Martinez then scored on a 13-yard run to put the Titans back in the lead in the second quarter, 21-14.
It was all Puyallup from there. The Vikings tallied a pair of touchdowns before halftime to take a 28-21 lead into the locker room.
The Titans couldn't stop Puyallup quarterback Brendan Illies and receiver Levi Jordan. Illies finished with more than 400 yards passing and four touchdowns, and Jordan caught nine passes for 257 yards and three TDs.
Wilson 32, at Decatur 20
The Decatur Gators and Wilson Rams continued their postponed game Saturday night at Federal Way Memorial Stadium, with Wilson dominating the second half to run away with the non-league win.
The game actually started Thursday night, but was suspended in the second quarter because of thunder and lightning in the area.
Decatur scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 20-12 lead into halftime. But the second half was all Wilson. The Rams outscored the Gators, 20-0, in the third and fourth quarters to get the win.
Decatur got a pair of touchdowns from Isaiah Diggs. The first came on a 42-yard pass from junior quarterback Isaiah Hatch and the second was a 10-yard run. The Gators' third touchdown came on a 15-yard run from Devin Brown.
Wilson's Isaiah Simpson tallied three touchdown runs in the second half.
Decatur will travel to Renton on Thursday night for another non-league contest.