Short of having large quantities of Kryptonite on hand, it might be impossible to slow down Federal Way’s playmakers this season.
Even if one player is successfully bottled up, there’s no shortage of dynamos on the roster ready to step in.
All that horsepower and not a restrictor plate in sight.
The second-ranked Eagles welcomed back standouts Chico McClatcher, Mike Tate and Rod Jones, Jr. for their Class 4A state first-round matchup against visiting Rogers on Friday.
All had a hand in dismantling the Rams.
McClatcher added another clip to his sophomore highlight reel – returning a punt 80 yards for a touchdown, Jones scored on a 2-yard run, and Tate came up with an interception as Federal Way advanced to the quarterfinals with a 46-28 victory at Memorial Stadium.
“We were motivated tonight,” McClatcher said. “We wanted to make a statement. We want to make history.”
Federal Way improved to 11-0 and will play the winner of today’s game between Camas and Arlington in the next round.
It marks the first time since 1976 the Eagles have advanced to the state quarterfinals.
Rogers ended its season at 6-5.
McClatcher, Jones and Tate all missed Federal Way’s 24-14 district playoff victory over Issaquah last week, sidelined with either sickness or injury.
A week hiatus was all that was needed for the trio to recharge their batteries.
Zeek McNeal carried the load last week with his teammates sidelined, rushing for a career-high 291 yards.
The senior wasn’t asked to shoulder as much with the lineup fully intact, but he certainly made the most of his touches, rushing for 81 yards and two touchdowns on just 5 carries.
The game was a rematch of an opening-week clash between the two South Puget Sound League squads.
Federal Way won the first meeting, 41-14, leading 41-0 at half before a running clock took over.
The rematch almost mirrored the first game with the Eagles using big plays to take an early advantage.
“The real story line tonight was how well our defense played,” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. “I’m not sure how many yards they had in the first half, but it wasn’t many.”
Federal Way’s defense had three sacks and forced five turnovers – getting interceptions from Tate, J.J. McNeal, Branden Warren and D’Londo Tucker – en route to a 40-0 cushion at halftime.
Tate kicked off the interception bonanza, picking off Rogers quarterback Stefan Van Horn on the Rams’ opening series.
The Eagles needed just one offensive play to get on the scoreboard as Zeek McNeal scampered 37 yards for a touchdown.
Before the game was 2 minutes old, J.J. McNeal made it 12-0 for Federal Way, returning an interception 40 yards for a touchdown.
The big-play avalanche continued as the Eagles put up 28 second-quarter points, finding a variety of ways to make it into the end zone, including McClatcher’s thrilling special-teams play and Evan Elliott’s perfectly placed 21-yard scoring strike to Marcel Morris.
“That punt return kind of kick-started us in the second quarter,” Meagher said. “We scored twice really quick and then got a little flat. That play energized us.”
Zeek McNeal’s second touchdown – a 12-yard run late in the second quarter – pushed the lead to 40-0, leading to an all too familiar scenario in the second half for the Eagles, a running clock.
With the Eagles starters watching from the sidelines, Rogers scored four second-half touchdowns, one on a 35-yard blocked punt return and another on an 82-yard kickoff runback.