The players for Federal Way and Thomas Jefferson formed Harris' No. 88 on the field before the game. The Eagles had a big second half to win 38-21.
For Federal Way, the season is about the fist bump.
It’s a friendly gesture Allen Harris would have given his Federal Way teammates after Friday’s 38-21 win against Thomas Jefferson. That and his infectious smile would’ve let the Eagles know they were off to a great season.
Instead, the players fist bumped each other in remembrance. Harris died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy at an offseason workout in July. He would have celebrated his 17th birthday on Sept. 11.
“At the end of every practice, he would come up and give me a fist bump with a giant smile on his face,” Federal Way coach John Meagher said. “He wouldn’t say anything but would come get a fist bump from me. That was his style.”
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Friday’s game was one Harris would’ve liked. There were plenty of celebratory plays, beginning with junior quarterback RJ Tausili’s pass to senior Trey Davis for a 56-yard touchdown with 10:18 on the clock in the first quarter.
Federal Way was tied 14-14 with Thomas Jefferson at the half. The Eagles outscored their rival 24-7 after the break to ensure the win.
Davis, a USC-commit who left the game in the second quarter with an apparent right leg injury, said the team is dedicating the season to Harris. He was one of the players trying to comfort Harris as he convulsed on the same Memorial Stadium field during the hot summer afternoon.
“The kids all talked about dedicating the season to Allen and we are doing that, but it’s not really about the wins and losses,” Meagher said. “It’s part of it, but we’re really trying to make it about how we play the game. How we live like Allen and play like Allen. Instead of for him, let’s do it like him and honor him. Because he was a great teammate, consistent and always a lot of fun to be with. The more we can be like that as human beings, the better.”
Harris’ mother Dee hugged the players before the game and requested a win for her son. She and her husband were honorary team captains that participated in the coin flip. They sobbed at midfield as the Federal Way and Thomas Jefferson teams each formed a number eight on the field to symbolize Harris’ jersey number.
Federal Way will display the No. 88 jersey throughout the season.
“This is one of those moments that has taken my breath away,” Dee said of all the ways the players included her son Friday.
After a moment of silence, the evening slipped into a standard season opener with glitches until Federal Way built a rhythm in the second half.
Randy Ortiz nailed a 23-yard field goal, and the Eagles recovered a fumble that Washington-commit Alphonzo Tuputala punched in for touchdown to swell the lead to 24-14.
Sophomore Corey Quinn, taking over some of the running duties for Davis, darted for a 7-yard touchdown with 10:58 on the clock in the fourth quarter. Thomas Jefferson junior Damarion Davis quickly answered with an 18-yard touchdown to make the score 31-21 with 9:28 left.
Tausili ensured the win with a 37-yard touchdown pass to sophomore Ronald Davisill to close the scoring. Tausili completed 5 of 9 passes for 133 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.
“This is probably the last game we’ll attend,” said Dee Harris, who moved from Federal Way with her husband because of the painful reminders of the loss of their youngest child everywhere they go. “This is not the kind of empty nesters we wanted to be.”