Federal Way High School football preview: Brotherhood in blue

Coach John Meagher announces this will be his final season as head coach of the Federal Way Eagles.

Federal Way football’s brotherhood is defined by Federal Way-blue jerseys and the Eagles’ talented returner roster.

The plan is always to improve each week and to make the Federal Way High School boys football boys feel they are part of something of significance, said head coach John Meagher.

“Hopefully we play the game the way it’s meant to be played,” Meagher said. “We play hard and have sportsmanship and have a high level of respect for our opponent … and hopefully the scoreboard is in our favor at the end of the game.”

Top offensive returners for the Eagles include senior quarterback RJ Tausili and a solid junior class of skills players, Meagher said, including triple threat junior WR/QB/RB Corey Quinn playing wide receiver, quarterback, and running back; and junior wide receivers Jatavious Magee and Ronald Davis.

“We’re spending some time trying to match our offense with the skills set that we have with our players,” Meagher said. “But that’s every year.”

Preseason has also focused on a new defense going in crafted by defensive coordinator David Coldiron. This year, defensive backs will be a strength of the team, Meagher said. Top defensive returners include defensive lineman senior Covenant Savusa, linebackers senior Desmond Maiava and senior Jaylen Bogan; senior center Ronald Davis, junior outside linebacker Damoni Nelson, junior safety Jatavious Magee, and senior defensive end Jayden Howard.

Although more than 90 kids turned out for this season, Meagher said that is still a low number for Federal Way.

“When your numbers are down, your linemen are down,” he said. “You become thinner in the offensive line position especially.”

Across the state, numbers are down for linemen, as well as overall team size.

“It’s work,” Meagher said about retaining numbers. “It’s work is what it takes.”

This will be Meagher’s final season as head coach for the Eagles

“This is year 25 for me,” he said.

The idea of “brotherhood” derived from a 2007 meeting with the seniors on Federal Way’s football team at the time to figure out what Federal Way’s core covenants were, Meagher said.

“It came down to brotherhood, accountability and industriousness,” he said. “And those three have been the three things we’ve hung our hats on since then.”

Brotherhood is the one that the kids, and everyone else in the program, focuses on because it’s about family, taking care of each other, through thick and thin and having each others backs

“They live it. They believe it,” he said. “It’s that whole ‘me over we’ concept that you have to be great at it you’re going to be a good football team.”

Meagher will still be part of the Federal Way brotherhood, now cheering from the stands as a father rather than on the sidelines as head coach.

Over more than two decades with the Eagles, Meagher has racked up an impressive list of bragging rights.

He’s worked with 48 assistant coaches throughout the years, coached thousands of athletes on the field, 58 of which have gone on to play college ball and 31 at the D1 level.

When Meagher joined the coaching staff, the Eagles had not been to the playoffs since 1977 and they were in the middle of a 16-game losing streak.

“This the 38th year where football has dominated my life both as a player and coach,” he said. “It’s just time.”

None of the success was achieved alone, Meagher said commending his assistant coaches. Six of this year’s coaches work at Federal Way High School, five of which are teachers.

“Great teachers make great coaches,” Meagher said.

The Federal Way Eagles face Thomas Jefferson at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 6 at Federal Way Memorial Stadium.

Players to watch

Offensive:

QB RJ Tausili,5’10 215, sr.; RB/QB/WR Corey Quinn, 5’8, 155, jr.; WR Jatavious Magee, 6’0, 185 jr.; WR Ronald Davis, 5’10, 180, jr.

Defensive:

DL Covenant Savusa, 6’2, 295, sr.; LB Desmond Maiava, 6’1, 215, sr.; LB Jaylen Bogan, 6’0, 200, sr.; C Ronald Davis, 5’10, 180, sr.; OLB Damoni Nelson, 5’10, 165, jr.; Safety Jatavious Magee, 6’0, 185, jr.; DE Jayden Howard, 6’0, 175, sr.

A Federal Way player navigates a path around a defender at practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A Federal Way player navigates a path around a defender at practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A Federal Way player helps a teammate up at a preseason practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A Federal Way player helps a teammate up at a preseason practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A kick by sophomore Randy Ortiz is blocked by another Federal Way player at preseason practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A kick by sophomore Randy Ortiz is blocked by another Federal Way player at preseason practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

A kick by sophomore Randy Ortiz is blocked by another Federal Way player at preseason practice on Aug. 30. Olivia Sullivan/staff photo

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