Four future Cougs shine over weekend

WITH CRUNCH TIME of the high school football season here, four future Cougars had banner weekends that fueled their teams' title hopes. Jeff Tuel, the running and gunning quarterback at Clovis West High in Fresno, helped secure his club no worse than a tie for the league title, while two local products – Gino Simone and Andre Barrington – find themselves on a collision course.

Jeff Tuel led Clovis West to a 51-19 victory over Madera, improving the Golden Eagles to 6-3 on the season and guaranteeing them at least a tie for the Tri-River Athletic Conference championship. Tuel, rated one of top 60 QB prospects in the nation by Scout.com, has one more regular season game before the playoffs begin.

Back in the Evergreen State, two of Paul Wulff's prized early verbals – receiver Gino Simone of Skyline and defensive back/running back Andre Barrington of Federal Way – will face off this weekend in the second round of the Class 4A playoffs.

Barrington led 8-2 Federal Way to a 24-19 come-from-behind win over Gig Harbor on Friday, propelling the Eagles to the second round of the playoffs for just the second time in 32 years. Barrington rushed for 166 yards and one touchdown and threw a TD pass. A safety on defense, he moved to middle linebacker in place of injured teammate Andru Pulu.

"The bottom line is the guy's a fantastic athlete, so you want to try to put it into your best athlete's hands and let him do what he does," Federal Way head coach John Meagher told the Seattle Times. Barrington projected as a linebacker at WSU, but is rated No. 78 nationally among prep safeties.

The victory earns Federal Way a match up this Friday with Simone's Skyline Spartans, who improved to 10-0 over the weekend by defeating Graham-Kapowsin 30-7. Simone opened the night with a 49-yard TD catch from Jake Heaps and later added a 6-yard scoring aerial. Skyline, the defending Class 4A champion, is ranked No. 1 in the state and is in the top 10 nationally. Simone is one of the top grab masters in the Kingco, with 26 catches for for 544 yards.

In Class 3A action over the weekend, another future Cougar -- Jamal Atofau of Bellevue High – teamed with quarterback Joe Joe Connor for a 20-yard scoring aerial as Bellevue concluded a perfect regular season ( 9-0) with a 56-14 win over Interlake. Atofau is rated the No. 55 prep safety prospect in the nation by Scout.com.


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