Federal Way gets physical against Kentlake


The Reporter

They had momentum. And a nice touch of confidence heading into last Friday night’s showdown at French Field against South Puget Sound League North Division power Federal Way.

Then, in the matter of one quarter, both were taken away from the Kentlake High football team. Federal Way’s Nico Curran returned a punt 65 yards for a touchdown just minutes into the game, and defensive back Nick Tanielu added a 33-yard interception for a score moments later as the Eagles took an instant 14-0 lead. The two quick scores set the tone for Federal Way, which went on to throttle the Falcons, 48-6.

“It really snowballed on us,” Kentlake coach Mike Shepard said. “You could see it in the kids’ eyes. To (Federal Way’s) credit, they’re big, physical and strong.

“We got our nose bloodied, well we probably got a concussion, too,“ Shepard added. “But we’ll be all right. Our kids will come back and we’ll be ready.”

What began as a few snowballs quickly turned into an uncontrollable avalanche that Kentlake (3-1 in league, 3-1 overall), which began the season with a school-best three-game winning streak, simply could not contain.

The Falcons went on to turn the ball over seven times in the game, five during the first half. Those five turnovers led to 27 of Federal Way’s 41 first-half points.

“I don’t believe they’re 48 points better than we are,” Shepard said. “The snowball got rolling and we couldn’t stop it.”

Federal Way running back Andre Barrington rushed for a game-high 97 yards and two touchdowns on 11 carries. Tanielu, who also is the team’s quarterback, added a score through the air and another on the ground.

By halftime, the Eagles had ended any upset thoughts Kentlake might have had, taking a 41-0 lead into the locker room.

While the turnovers hurt, so too did the lack of protection for Kentlake quarterback Lewi Larson, who was sacked three times during the first half and seldom had more than a couple seconds to throw the ball. Larson completed 6 of 19 passes for 52 yards, including two interceptions.

“Our lack of pass protection is definitely a coaching issue,” Shepard lamented. “Going back, looking at the film, if we pass block the way we usually do, it would be a different outcome.”

The lone bright spot for the Falcons didn’t come until the fourth quarter, when Giordan Smith delivered a 3-yard touchdown run, Kentlake’s only score of the game. Smith led all Kentlake running backs with 35 yards on seven carries.

Despite the loss, the Falcons remain very much alive for one of the four playoff berths from the North Division.

“The nice thing is, we’re still in control of our own destiny,” Shepard added. “I feel really good about our kids and where we’re at and where we’re going.”

• Kentridge 24, Bethel 3: Brandon Reiter helped the Chargers (1-2, 2-2) bounce back from a loss to Federal Way, rushing for 170 yards and two touchdowns (15 and 64 yards) in a nonleague victory against the Braves (1-2, 1-3). Devin Topps helped Kentridge take an early lead with a 22-yard touchdown run in the first quarter. The Chargers travel to unbeaten and fifth-ranked Auburn (4-0, 4-0) for a pivotal showdown Thursday night.

• Tahoma 48, Kent-Meridian 13: Do-it-all running back/wide receiver/punt and kick returner Chris Marangon continued to be a touchdown machine for the Bears, scoring three more times in leading Tahoma (4-0, 4-0) past Kent-Meridian (0-4, 0-4) in an SPSL North game.

Marangon delivered a 10-yard touchdown run in the second quarter, then added a 70-yard rushing score and an 86-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in the third quarter. The three TDs bring his season total to nine through four games.

With the win, Tahoma remains unbeaten in league play. The Bears play host to Federal Way (2-1, 3-1) at Maxwell Stadium on Friday in a showdown with considerable playoff implications.

Against Kent-Meridian, Tahoma took an early lead behind a 23-yard field goal by Britton Jolly. The Bears then ripped the game open with a 21-point second quarter, getting touchdowns from Marangon, a 23-yard punt return by Jordan Rehwaldt and a 4-yard scoring strike from quarterback Heyden Johnson to Stone Connell.

Kent-Meridian got on the board in the third quarter with a 64-yard run from David Jones and added a 69-yard run from B.J. Arceneaux in the fourth. But it was too little, too late for the Royals.

• Auburn 66, Jefferson 28: The fifth-ranked Trojans (4-0, 4-0) continued to roll, bolting to a 35-0 first-quarter lead behind three touchdowns from senior Jeff Gouveia on the way to an easy win against the Raiders (0-4, 0-4).

However, the biggest highlight for the Trojans came from Derek Barrows, who delivered a 99-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, tying a 53-year-old school record.

Through four games, Auburn has not outscored its opponents, 164-49.

• Auburn Mountainview 15, White River 14: Cody McNeil rushed for a pair of fourth-quarter touchdowns, helping the Lions (2-2, 2-2) come back to beat the Hornets (0-4, 0-4).

McNeil rushed for 119 yards and the two touchdowns on 22 carries. But he saved his best for last. After getting the Lions within one at14-13, with two minutes remaining, McNeil ran in the two-point conversion as Auburn Mountainview evened up its record.

Kristian Agemotu led the Lions’ defense with 14 tackles.