Wild. Unreal. Amazing.
Pick an adjective; it won’t do justice to the finish of ninth-ranked Federal Way’s 28-26 victory at No. 10 Bethel on Friday night.
“I’ve never experienced an end of the game situation like that,” Eagles coach John Meagher said, “in terms of the range of emotions that I felt.”
The final two minutes were such a roller coaster that three times Federal Way celebrated victory – just once with the win secured – but could finally exhale when quarterback Evan Elliott kneeled in the end zone, taking a safety as time expired. The Eagles had preserved their undefeated record in a matchup of SPSL South titans.
Trailing 28-24 with 2 minutes, 20 seconds remaining, Bethel stuffed Federal for no gain on fourth down and took over at its own 28. Less than a minute later, quarterback Justin Hordyk had guided the Braves to the Eagles’ 30.
One the next play, Hordyk threw to David Fontenette, who tangled with defensive back Marcel Morris. A referee originally ruled that Morris intercepted the pass, but the call was overturned after an officials’ huddle.
Hordyk went back to Fontenette on the next two plays, picking up gains of 12 and 11 yards, giving Bethel a first down at the Eagles’ 7. Hordyk kept the ball for two yards on first and spiked it on second, stopping the clock with 14.4 seconds to go. He dashed up the middle on third down and was tackled a foot shot of the goal line.
Then, in the chaos of trying to manage the clock, he spiked the ball on the fourth down.
“It was my fault,” Bethel coach Gavin Kralik said. “It was just confusion.”
Federal Way (5-0 league, 5-0 overall) took over with three-tenths of a second left and took a safety.
The Eagles got a boost from reserve running back Zeek McNeel when leading rusher D.J. May left the game late in the third quarter, rushing for 96 yards on 10 carries in the fourth quarter. May had provided most of Federal Way’s offense, running for 138 yards and a touchdown on 15 attempts.
“Got big shoes to fill,” said McNeel, who also returned a kickoff 80 yards for a touchdown. “I knew I couldn’t let my team down.”
Hordyk completed 17 of 28 passes for 224 yards for Bethel (3-1, 3-2). Fontenette caught eight passes for 109 yards and also threw a 34-yard touchdown to Tyler Hordyk that gave the Braves a 24-14 lead in the fourth quarter.