Is the reign of Federal Way High School hoops over?
After countless league titles and state tournament appearances, the Federal Way Eagles basketball program is off to its worst start in the past decade.
Granted, it is still early, but the Eagles are 0-2. That hasn’t happened since 2011.
On Dec. 6, the Eagles boys team fell to Todd Beamer High School, 44-36. Federal Way hasn’t lost to Todd Beamer since 2013, and also hasn’t lost to any Federal Way Public School since that same 2013 season.
In that 11-year span of dominance, the Eagles won 48 games in a row over crosstown rivals. Federal Way had a combined score of 4,199-2,139 against the three schools over the 48 games (Beamer 16, Decatur 17, Thomas Jefferson 15). Thomas Jefferson was on the toughest end of the stick of the three schools, allowing Federal Way to score an average of 89 points, and the Titans allowed the least at 85 points a game.
But the Titans had the Eagles’ number just over a decade ago, winning 72-65, which was the second league loss for the Eagles that season. Todd Beamer also sent the Eagles into the losers bracket in the district tournament that same year with a 64-59 win at Auburn High School. Beamer ended up taking fifth in state that season.
Federal Way graduated eight seniors last season and had only one junior and three underclassmen a season ago. Anytime a group has that much turnover in any field, expectations will change the following year, no matter what.
The oddity about this season is graduating eight seniors is not out of the ordinary for the Eagles, and this season they have seven. The oddity lies in the fact that they have lost the first two games and have not produced at the beginning of a season for the first time in a long time, when most of the kids on the team were in grade school.
On last year’s roster, the entire program had five juniors. Kofi Peyton was the lone varsity player, and the other four played junior varsity. According to MaxPreps, three of the four players are now on varsity this season.
This is not to take anything away from Todd Beamer — the Titans are shaping up to be a rocket ship this season. The Titans were picked by EvansRankings’ computer generated Top 10 3A teams to be the number five 3A team in the state. That is a projection that I myself would not have made.
Missing Jahlil Loyd and Keanu Earnest is a void that has to be filled by Beamer, and so far, they are doing a superb job at doing so, sitting at 3-0 a top the 3A NPSL standings.
Federal Way is by no means dead, despite the 0-2 record. Head Coach Yattah Reed will have the Federal Way boys ready and will use the poor start as a wakeup call. If any team can be dangerous behind the eight-ball, it will be the Eagles.
But they have a target on their back because after a decade-plus of dominance, people want to beat the best. If there is blood in the water, best know that the Eagles feel it, and the rest of the state can taste it.
Federal Way Mirror sports reporter Ben Ray can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.