Federal Way senior QB Jay O’Neil has his eyes set on the Skyline Spartans. Ben Ray/Sound Publishing

Federal Way senior QB Jay O’Neil has his eyes set on the Skyline Spartans. Ben Ray/Sound Publishing

Federal Way football preps for state appearance Saturday, Nov. 12

No Kent school makes state; Federal Way plays Skyline Spartans in 4A tournament

As the sun was setting and the temperature was dropping, Federal Way High School was preparing for its first state football playoff game since 2014.

For Coach Marcus Yzaguirre (Izzy), it is nothing he isn’t used to. The 2003 Washington State University football alum is used to the cold weather, practice on Tuesday was a brisk feels like 31. The third-year Eagle head coach is on his way to his first state tournament at the helm of any school he has coached at.

“It feels great, it is one of those things where we knew at the beginning of the year we were capable. It is just an amazing feeling getting this far. … I knew at the beginning of the year we had an opportunity to do some special things,” Yzaguirre said.

“This group has gone through a lot, they stepped up and wanted to have some normalcy and exceed the expectations they had set for themselves. … It is a very focused and resilient team,” he added.

Federal Way will need to stay focused on Saturday, Nov. 12 as they go up to Sammamish to take on the Skyline Spartans in the WIAA 4A state tournament. The Spartans at 6-2 on the year have been carried to the playoffs on the back of their defense.

“They have a stout defense, they have been doing a good job all year,” Yzaguirre said.

Skyline allows 11.4 points per game on the season and at home they are even better, allowing only 10.3. Overall the Spartans defense is the third best in the state behind Kennedy (10.8) and Chiawana (11). The formula to crack the Skyline defense is simple for the Eagles.

“We have to go in, be focused and let our playmakers make plays. We got playmakers all over the field and when we are clicking on all cylinders it’s scary,” Yzaguirre said.

However, Federal Way’s offense has never been hotter. Over their five-game win streak, they have averaged 48 points a game. After the loss to Kennedy, quarterback Jay O’Neil said the change happened at practice. “We realized we needed to practice better,” the head coach said. “Ever since we have been clicking.”

The defensive strategy for the Eagles is a different story. Of the top teams remaining, Skyline doesn’t have the high powered offense one would expect. The Spartans have only scored over 30 points one game this year. It was their previous game against Mt. Rainier where they scored 31. The challenge is slowing standout wide receiver and Colorado State commit TJ Crandall who has been lethal against defenses all season.

“Big time playmakers make plays, that’s the nature of the game. Our job is to try and limit those plays, and if they do make one. We have to come back and respond,” Yzaguirre said.

The game’s biggest challenge is something off the field for Coach Izzy’s Eagles: “We have to understand we can’t get tired on that hour bus ride. That is the biggest challenge to me, is making sure we are ready right when we get off that bus.”

The Eagles have only played three games outside of Federal Way Memorial Stadium including one on the road at powerhouse Lake Stevens, which looking at the score might not have seemed positive at the time but has helped Federal Way down the road.

“It really helped us, it kind of humbled us too. It made us realize we need to work harder, and definitely prepared us for the playoffs,” O’Neil said.

Federal Way enters the state bracket as the 12 seed, facing the fifth-seeded Spartans.

No Kent schools advanced to the state playoffs.

For the WIAA football playoff brackets, click on wiaa.com.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Sports

t
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Nashayla Fellows

Fellows has a top ten mark in the entire state for discus and shot put.

t
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Theo Carter

Carter has a top five time in the 400 and 800 in league.

Saul Rodriguez chases down an Auburn player in the second half. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kent-Meridian soccer falls to Auburn

Royals allowed two goals in first six minutes and couldn’t muster a comeback.

Dominic DesMarais pitches at T-Mobile Park against Lake Washington. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentridge snatches victory from jaws of defeat inside T-Mobile Park

Clutch hitting from Owen Finlayson along with solid pitching gives KR late life against Lake Washington.

Reese McGuire takes batting practice at T-Mobile Park for the Red Sox. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Kentwood grads meet again in the big leagues

Reese McGuire and Austin Voth made their MLB debut in 2018.

Sam Wah leaps over the hurdles en route to winning his race. Ben Ray / The Mirror
Track and field in action at French Field

Kent-Meridian and Kentridge host Federal Way and Thomas Jefferson.

t
Creativity is king when it comes to sports logos and mascots | Bench Talk with Ben Ray

So, what makes a good combination of logo and mascot? I think originality plays a huge factor.

Courtesy Photo
Kent Reporter Male Athlete of the Week: Carson Hurt

Hurt scored the game winning goal against Auburn.

Courtesy Photo.
Kent Reporter Female Athlete of the Week: Simran Samra

Samra has been one of the most outstanding performers on the tennis team.

t
Kent-based T-Birds fail to make WHL playoffs for first time since 2012

Seattle drops Portland on St. Patrick’s Day but playoff streak ends at 11 years

Sarah Wright eyes down the target as she pitches at Liberty High School. Ben Ray / The Reporter
Softball: Kentwood wins thriller in extra innings at Liberty

Sarah Wright dominated in the season opener with 20 strikeouts, no earned runs.

First panel of players sit in front of media members and fans inside the Ron Sandwith Teen Center. Photo Provided by Rodney McCurry.
Kent-based Seattle Majestics have a new leader and new energy

Women’s football team to play home games at French Field, next to Kent-Meridian High School