Eight games into the season, the Federal Way Eagles had yet to play a game where the starters were still on the field deep into the fourth quarter.
The second-ranked Eagles finally got a chance to play a full game on Friday night at Viking Stadium in University Place.
And with the postseason on the horizon, they didn’t disappoint.
Quarterback Evan Elliott threw four touchdown passes, and Federal Way gained momentum at halftime, eventually taking down ninth-ranked Curtis, 35-6. The win wrapped up the SPSL South Division title for the second straight year for the Eagles, who will face the King County’s No. 5 seed in the playoffs. Curtis, the SPSL No. 3 seed, will travel to Bothell.
“We had our mettle tested (tonight),” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. “It was a character-building type of thing.”
Nursing a 14-6 lead at halftime, Elliott led an eight-play, 65-yard drive to open the third quarter, eventually finding Zeek McNeal in the flat with a 10-yard touchdown pass. Later in the third, Elliott hit Marcel Morris in stride for a 63-yard touchdown pass, pushing the lead to 28-6 after the PAT. He later added a 32-yard touchdown strike to Mike Tate in the fourth quarter.
“This is our first time having to play a four-quarter game, and we responded really well,” said Elliott, who finished 9 of 16 passing for 177 yards. “We didn’t play our best first half, but we responded really well. I’m really proud of our guys. We had a lot of guys step up and it was great.”
With star halfback Chico McClatcher out with a virus, Federal Way (9-0) took to the air with Elliott.
“Part of our plan was to throw the ball a little bit more tonight because we knew Curtis was going to do some things to take away our inside run,” Meagher said. “They had a good game plan for us. They slowed some things down (in the first half) and we shot ourselves in the foot a bunch of times.”
McNeal had a solid game on the ground, rushing for 92 yards on 13 carries.