Federal Way Eagles advance to state football tournament

The Eagles are returning to the state competition for the first time since 2014.

The Federal Way Eagles toppled the Curtis Vikings last Saturday, Nov. 5, at Federal Way Memorial Stadium with the score 37-17. Moving beyond districts, this marks the first time Federal Way will play in the state tournament since 2014.

The two teams were the tightest ranked teams playing in week 10 of the football season. Curtis was seeded 15th and Federal Way came in 14th. Curtis took an early lead to start the ballgame, scoring the first three points on a 21-yard field goal from senior Joseph Carini.

The first quarter ended 3-0, but a Federal Way interception from senior Dre Jordan gave the Eagles possession and the ball inside Viking territory.

“We knew what we had to do. We prepared a lot and I feel like coach put us in the right position,” Jordan said when describing his team’s performance.

Federal Way took advantage of the turnover cashing in for their first points of the game. Senior Maki Piper ran the ball in from 29 yards out for the Eagles first points, with the extra point Federal Way was up 7-3.

Curtis responded with a touchdown of their own, driving the ball the length of the field. With 3:23 left in the half, sophomore Parker Madey scampered his way 19 yards on the ground for the score.

In the last 20 seconds of the half Federal Way made magic happen. A 43-yard reception from junior Rashawn Clark, and a late hit out of bounds penalty put Federal Way at the Curtis 20-yard line. The knowledge, and experience, of Clark allowed the Eagles to put points on the board. Clark looked back at the clock ticking down while he was running with the ball and had the smarts to get out of bounds.

As time expired, junior Cadence Reas drilled a 19-yard field goal to tie the game going into halftime 10-10.

The second half was all Eagles, who outscored the Vikings 27-7 in the half. On the opening drive of the half, Federal Way drove down the field for their second touchdown of the game. Piper once again found the end zone this time on a nine yard run. On his way there he bulldozed over a Viking going straight through him.

“It felt amazing, I thought I wasn’t gonna make it. I just kept my feet moving and I got in there,” Piper said after the game.

On the ensuing Curtis drive, pressure was brought by Eastern Washington University commit Tylin Jackson impacting the throw from the Viking quarterback. Clark was able to corral the pass at the midfield stripe and ran it all the way to the end zone. Building on the Eagle lead, and with 4:20 left in the third quarter, FW was on top 24-10.

The Vikings bounced back before the quarter ended. Their lone points of the third quarter came with 1:48 left on the clock, a four-yard run from senior Lyndon Tanoa. After three complete, the score was 24-17 Eagles.

Early in the fourth quarter, Federal Way found the endzone for the third time on offense on the night. This time it was a touchdown from Dre Jordan, the recipe was a 19-yard screen pass.

The final points of the game were the only points a freshman scored in the contest. Five-foot-eight freshman Zamarie Tellez had an exceptional game in the Eagle secondary. He capped his performance off with a 47 yard interception returned for a touchdown sealing victory for the Eagles.

“When I caught it, I just saw all green and took it to the house,” Tellez said.

Head Coach Marcus Yzaguirre (Izzy) was singing praises for his freshman.

“He’s the real deal. He is doing what he’s done all year. He’s got four picks on the year and two of ‘em for six. It felt great to watch him do that and we knew he was capable of that,” Yzaguirre said.

Tellez isn’t the only player playing well on defense. The Eagles held Curtis to 17 points, which is their third lowest scoring game all season. The averaged double that at 34 points a game.

It was a complete victory: “They are just playing good football. Playing for each other and playing at a high level. I mean, they are just having fun,” Yzaguirre said.

The Eagles have now won five games in a row and six of their last seven games. On Saturday, Nov. 12, in the opening round of the state tournament, Federal Way takes on the Skyline Spartans. The game is at 5:30 p.m. at Skyline High School in Sammamish.