When you can get coach Eric Kurle to think about his glory days in the South Puget Sound League South Division with those feared and talented Bethel High teams he had, that is saying something.
And this team at Graham-Kapowsin High School — one that has now beaten the top two SPSL South contenders in Curtis and now No. 2 Federal Way in the span of six days — draws apt comparison.
Behind four touchdown runs by tailback Teague James, and a stifling, sure-tackling defense, seventh-ranked Graham-Kapowsin walloped Federal Way, 39-21, on Thursday night at Art Crate Field.
Not only did Federal Way’s 19-game divisional winning streak come to an end, but its two-year reign as SPSL South champion is in serious jeopardy.
“That is a physical, well-coached team,” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. “Hats off to them.”
No doubt, it was a complete effort by Graham-Kapowsin, and it started from the opening drive.
“We’ve got depth, and I think we are strong in most spots, and we don’t have a lot of weaknesses,” Kurle said.
Graham-Kapowsin went 62 yards on its first drive to take a 7-0 lead on James’ 1-yard touchdown plunge with 7½ minutes to go.
Federal Way got as far as the Graham-Kapowsin 30-yard line on its opening drive, but stalled when linebacker Scott Moss sacked quarterback Keenan Curran on third down.
After that, Graham-Kapowsin had back-to-back drives of 86 and 64 yards, all capped by James’ scoring runs to grab a 19-0 lead at the 3:51 mark of the second quarter.
Federal Way just couldn’t spring big playmakers Curran and tailback Chico McClatcher, who had a field day on long-gaining touchdowns in the game a year ago.
Not this time.
“Our kids bottled them up as best as we could,” Kurle said. “We flew to the ball, and that is what I thought our quickness would be in this defense.”
McClatcher got Federal Way on the board with a 33-yard touchdown scamper with 2:42 to go in the first half to cut it to 19-7. And getting the ball to start the second half, the defending SPSL South champion had a big opportunity to cut further into the deficit.
But Federal Way went three-and-out to start the third quarter, and Graham-Kapowsin marched 62 yards this time, ending on another James 1-yard touchdown run, to take a 26-7 advantage.
“We felt like we were in control,” James said. “Our offense was doing well. It was working. And the defense was phenomenal.”
James finished 121 yards on 25 carries to spearhead 426 yards of offense for Graham-Kapowsin.
McClatcher ended up with 141 yards on eight carries, most of it coming on an 83-yard touchdown scamper in garbage time. Curran added 90 yards on 11 carries. Federal Way was hurt by 13 penalties.
Camas 69, Auburn Mountainview 24: After top-ranked Camas went three-and-out on its first possession, Auburn Mountainview (1-2) took advantage, putting together an 11-play, 64-yard drive and scoring first when Gresch Jensen hit Joey Cassano with a 24-yard touchdown pass.
Then the Camas offense found its groove and never looked back at Auburn Memorial Field.
The Papermakers exploded for 34 second-quarter points and ran away with the victory. Camas quarterback Riley Hennessey, an Eastern Washington commit, threw for 256 yards and three touchdowns to lead the Papermakers, who scored 95 points in their first two games this season.