Issaquah Eagles bounced early from football playoffs

November 6, 2012

By John Leggett

When an eager and optimistic Issaquah Eagle football team traveled to enemy territory Nov. 2 to lock horns with a perennially powerful Federal Way squad, it just couldn’t capitalize on a gaggle of Federal Way Eagle turnovers, and Issaquah’s season came to an abrupt close as the team lost, 24-14.

At first, the loyal Issaquah fans making the excursion to voluminous Federal Way Stadium probably couldn’t believe their eyes.

Issaquah received the opening kickoff and returned the ball to its own 20; that was where Issaquah set up camp.

Federal Way didn’t have time to get very comfortable, though, as on Issaquah’s first play from scrimmage, junior dynamo Jack Gellatly — who led the KingCo 4A in rushing with well over 1,000 yards on the ground in only nine outings — took a handoff and burst through a gaping hole in the line, dashing 80 yards for a touchdown.

After Issaquah’s senior kicker Alex Shane, who seems destined for a college career, legged the point after a touchdown kick through the uprights, Federal Way found itself trailing by the score of 7-0, just 10 seconds into the surreal encounter.

Understandably, Federal Way’s Eagles weren’t used to being in such an early predicament of having to come from behind. After all, during the regular season Federal Way mowed through the competition in its South Puget Sound League 4A division with relative ease, primarily by using its jaw-dropping team speed, to enjoy an unbeaten 12-0 accounting at the end of the regular campaign.

But rally back Federal Way did…eventually.

Before Federal Way could generate any offense, though, Issaquah scored again in the second quarter when Issaquah quarterback Jack Neary zipped a nine-yard touchdown dart to senior wide out Reed Peterson, and after Shane made good on his second point after touchdown of the engagement, the Federal Way assemblage appeared to be in a state of shock.

Any coach worth his salt knows that when you are playing on the road as a heavy underdog, the wisest strategies include taking the noisy home folks out of the equation early. It seemed as though Issaquah had accomplished that goal at least.

Unfortunately for Issaquah, the silence did not remain for long, because as fate would have it, Federal Way’s untarnished record was no fluke. After Federal Way quickly got its act intact to put up a pair of touchdown runs and a tandem of extra point kicks, the tally was deadlocked at 14 apiece as the adversaries jogged into their respective locker rooms at intermission.

A not-so-funny thing happened on the way to the second half of the game.

Despite Federal Way committing four more miscues, in the form of two more fumbles and another interception, Issaquah simply found itself unable to cash in on the numerous opportunities and it would not score another point in the strange encounter.

The Federal Way club took on a whole different attitude in the affair’s second 24 minutes. Despite its continuing to cough up the football, Federal Way did shore up its defense, managing to keep Gellatly in check, pretty much stonewalling for the rest of the way.

Federal Way would go on to tabulate 10 more points against a decent Issaquah defense in the second half to seal Issaquah’s fate and pull out the 24-14 victory to at least send one group of Eagle fans home with a contented smile on their faces.

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