Chico McClatcher is one of the state’s most electrifying playmakers. He has been for the last three seasons.
So, how can you slow the senior down?
Keep McClatcher and Federal Way’s high-octane offense off the field.
Newport of Bellevue executed that plan perfectly, dominating the time of possession as they defeated the visiting Eagles, 17-10, in the Class 4A state quarterfinals Saturday.
“We didn’t have a lot of opportunities on offense,” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. “They played keep away and they did a great job of it.”
The Knights (10-2) head back to the state semifinals for the first time since 1997, where they lost in the 3A classification to Ferndale (28-14).
Newport gets a second crack at league rival Bothell, a 37-14 winner over Bellarmine Prep, in the semifinals, which will be 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Tacoma Dome.
The Cougars won the initial meeting, 47-13, on Sept. 19, but the Knights have won nine straight since the loss.
Federal Way’s season ends at 9-3, falling a game short of the semifinals for a second consecutive season.
“We came up a little short tonight,” Meagher said, “but I am very proud of the team and what they’ve accomplished.”
McClatcher gained 19 yards on his first carry, but was held in check the rest of the way, finishing with 47 yards on 15 attempts.
The Knights ran the ball 45 times for 237 yards, but an eight-yard scoring strike from Jordan Sanberg to Thomas Day with 5 minutes left gave Newport the lead for good.
Justin Lau intercepted a D’Jimon Jones pass with 1:50 remaining before the Knights converted a 4th-and-inches play to seal the victory.
The Eagles tied the contest at 10 on Jones’ 13-yard touchdown pass to Charlie Taumoepeau late in the third quarter.
Federal Way looked sharp on its opening drive, giving McClatcher plenty of touches as the Eagles marched down to the Newport 2.
Unable to find the end zone, Federal Way settled for a Sam Han 20-yard field goal and a 3-0 lead with 4 minutes to play in the first quarter.
The Eagles ran just six plays the rest of the first half, falling victim to the Knights ball-controlling, run-heavy offense, which was light on big plays, but more than successful of reducing Federal Way’ quick-strike offense to spectators.
Newport was content with running the clock and chipping away at the Federal Way defense, gaining two and three yards before its option-read run attack broke a play for a first down.
The Knights, who scored all their first-half points in the final three minutes, took a 10-3 lead into the intermission, getting a 20-yard touchdown run from Sanberg and a 37-yard field goal from Hunter Hahnemann, son of Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann.