New CHS cheer coach BreAnna Boon reacts to the news of her hiring. (Photos courtesy Boon)

Boon was a state and national champ as an Oak Harbor cheerleader.

“Winning or losing, cheer teaches you to find the silver lining in every situation.”

Now, there’s been a lot of winning in BreAnna Boon’s career, but Coupeville High School’s new cheer coach wants her athletes to be prepared for anything that comes their way.

Having been tabbed for the job just as a new season kicks into gear — she replaces Emily Stevens, who resigned to spend more time with family — Boon, a repeat state champion during her own prep days, is all about preaching positive reinforcement.

“This may sound odd, but what I enjoy most about cheer is the positive spirit it promotes,” she said. “Learning how to stay positive is a great life lesson you learn in cheer.

“Team bonding is another great aspect that you achieve in cheer. The bonds that are created between teammates are some of the strongest around,” Boon added. “It teaches the squad how to work well with each other.

“I coach my kids to be kind, be proud, have fun and be a part of something greater than themselves.”

Boon achieved that goal during her days at Oak Harbor High School, capping a nine-year run as a cheerleader that began way back in third grade.

She was a team captain for the 2006 Wildcat fall cheer squad which was operating at full force when OHHS won a 4A state football title.

The ‘Cat cheer squad actually outdid the football team, winning state titles all four years Boon was in high school and adding a national championship in 2006.

“I enjoyed some incredibly exciting years as a cheerleader,” she said.

After graduation from OHHS, she kept her love affair with cheer going as a coach, continuing a pattern she had started while still in school.

During her days in the purple and gold, Boon operated as a volunteer coach with the local youth program.

That later blossomed into working as a coach and cheer director. In recent years, she worked at Anacortes High School and the Mount Vernon Christian School.

Boon, whose husband Tyson is part of an all-new coaching staff for the CHS football program, jumped when the opportunity to coach the Wolves unexpectedly opened.

“My goal has always been to acquire a position here on Whidbey Island, as this is my home,” she said. “I love the small-town feel that Coupeville has to offer.

“A small town means a tight-knit community. And a tight-knit community means everyone stands proud together,” Boon added. “Cheerleading is a activity that helps bring together a school and community in a unique way – around sports.”

The idea of community, of giving back, of having people work together to create something bigger than themselves, is very important to the new Wolf coach.

“My goals are to unite cheerleading with all the other sports teams,” Boon said. “I want the teams to know that the squad has their back no matter what. Win or lose, we will always show our support and pride.

“As a coach, one of my goals is to teach the cheerleaders to take pride in their community,” she added. “I am huge on community service and being able to give back in one way or another, is very important.

“The community does a lot for the school, and this is our way of saying thank you. So contact me if you have some community service for us!”

In the past, Coupeville cheer operated both on the sidelines and in competition. With her own extensive background in competitive cheer, Boon has an eye on bringing back those days, but admits it won’t happen tomorrow.

“Right now fall season is just starting, so I am 100% focused on that,” she said. “I want to build a strong squad that will be ready for whatever season it is.

“We will work starting from the ground up in order to put forth a top-notch cheer program,” Boon added. “Competition season is another incredible side to cheer. I would eventually like to bring competition back to CHS, but for now we are doing one step at a time!”

As she begins to work with her cheerleaders, Boon will be putting down the building blocks for the future.

Like former longtime CHS cheer guru Sylvia Arnold, she wants an inclusive squad which brings pride to its community, in game and out.

“I want to show the town of Coupeville that cheerleading is so much more than the stereotypical stigma that follows it,” Boon said. “It’s about how the squad can impact and make a significant difference not only in the school but the community as well.

“They are cheerLEADERS. We may be cheering on the sidelines, but I expect them to have LEADING roles at all times,” she added. “They are role models, in uniform or not. The squad will be setting the bar pretty high with our leadership on and off the field.”

Whether they are with her for one season or four, Boon’s goal is for each of her athletes to exit head held high, proud of what they accomplished and able to look back on their prep careers with the same joy she feels when she remembers her own journey.

“My goal for these kids, is to help them grow not only as a cheerleader, but also as an individual,” she said. “I hope to help them see the greatness in themselves as well as each other and to be able to appreciate it.

“Everyone who is on the squad is an important part of a very big team,” Boon added. “I want them to be able to take away great friendships and memories that will last throughout the years.”

New Coupeville Middle School football coach Brett Casey, wife Melissa and son Brian. (Photo courtesy Casey)

“I love being around football and kids.”

Those are the words of Brett Casey, the new Coupeville Middle School football coach, a man ready to tackle his new job in style.

When the Coupeville School District hired his wife, Melissa Casey, as a Special Education Life Skills teacher this summer, it set off an eventual 2-for-1 deal.

A longtime gridiron ace as a player and coach, Brett Casey then decided to pursue the job opening which appeared when Bob Martin resigned.

Now, a few months later, Casey is in place and raring to go, counting down the days until the first CMS practice Aug. 27.

“When my wife accepted a teaching job, I looked for the opportunity to continue coaching on the island,” he said. “I grew up playing in a small community, and I look forward to returning to that atmosphere as a coach.”

After earning All-State honors in high school as a wide receiver and defensive back, he played in the Down Under Bowl in Australia, before joining the football team at the University of Montana Western.

That’s the same school former Coupeville standout Mitch Pelroy suited up for during his own college football career.

After his playing days came to a close, Casey turned to coaching, and has put in three seasons working at the youth football level and six more with high school teams.

Over the past six years, his teams have posted a combined record of 48-9.

As a coach, Casey is straight-forward, asking his players to give back to the game what it gives to them.

“I would like them to have respect for the game, their teammates, opponents, and officials,” he said. “I would love to see kids excited about football again at CMS.

“Build it into a winning program and a feeder program for CHS.”

While he ultimately guides his team’s strategy, Casey wants his players to develop to the point where they are working with him, and not just for him.

“I enjoy the chess match-like strategy battle that ensues during the game,” he said. “Watching the players grow once they understand the how and why of the game.

“Once the players get that, the game opens up and the players can start giving their input on the offense or defense.”

Alex Turner and crew were out in force Thursday as CHS football put in practice time. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Freshman Gabe Shaw waits for a moment to impress the coaches.

Jake Pease (60) goes low, getting stretched out, while Chris Battaglia enjoys the nice day.

Ben Smith is like a coiled snake, ready to strike at any moment.

Wolf frosh Miles Davidson may be young, but this ain’t his first rodeo.

Junior QB Dawson Houston gets limbered up for some gun-slingin’.

We have photographic proof.

While the calendar says summer, the practice schedule says fall, with high school football launching a new season this week.

Wanderin’ photo god John Fisken, back from vacation just in the nick of time, arrived in Coupeville Thursday to document day #2 of the gridiron activity and the photos above are courtesy him.

Sean Toomey-Stout led Coupeville football in rushing, and was among state leaders in tackles when an injury prematurely ended his sophomore season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s a whole new world.

Quite a lot is radically different for Coupeville High School football, as the Wolves enter the 2018 season with a new coaching staff, a new league and new leaders on both sides of the ball.

Record busters like Hunter Smith and Hunter Downes have graduated, Marcus Carr has replaced Jon Atkins as head coach, and CHS is reuniting with former foes in the brand-new North Sound Conference.

After four years of life in the Olympic League, and two seasons of a joint venture with the Nisqually League for football, the Wolves will line up against “new” foes in King’s, Sultan, South Whidbey, Granite Falls and Cedar Park Christian.

The last one of those schools really is a new rival, as CPC joined the Cascade Conference as Coupeville’s replacement when the Wolves bolted in 2014.

The Eagles football program is run by Butch Goncharoff, who built Bellevue into a 3A powerhouse before being run out of town in the aftermath of WIAA troubles.

Carr, who takes over Coupeville’s gridiron team after two very successful seasons in Concrete, points to CPC as one of two schools who will carry the biggest rep into the new league.

“I think all the teams in our league will be tough,” he said. “But I would have to say King’s, just for the amount of bodies they can sub in and out to keep players fresh, and Cedar Park Christian, because of their head coach.

“Despite the off-the-field things, he has won 11 state championships on the field.”

Not that Coupeville’s new head man is willing to concede anything.

“No matter what, we will be ready to play and beat them all!,” Carr said. “GO WOLVES!!”

Carr, who is joined by five assistants who are new to CHS — Nathan BellamyTyson Boon, Kwamane Bowens, Robert Carr and Bennett Richter — is putting a laser-focus on his new players “becoming tougher, mentally and physically.”

The line, which includes returning players such as seniors Dane Lucero, Jake Pease and Ryan Labrador and junior Gavin Knoblich, is bolstered by the addition of senior Alex Turner.

A transfer from South Whidbey, Turner, who played for Coupeville in middle school, was a First-Team All-Conference pick by Cascade Conference coaches as a sophomore.

The Falcons played an independent schedule last season, preventing a repeat of league honors, but Turner showed a knack for catching TD passes from the tight end position.

Coupeville will have a new quarterback throwing those passes, with Downes, the school career leader in scoring strikes, having graduated.

After an injury ended his sophomore year early, he returned to lead the Wolf offense the past two seasons, firing passes primarily to Hunter Smith and Cameron Toomey-Stout, both also now departed.

Replacing Downes under center will likely be either junior Dawson Houston or senior Shane Losey, though Lucero is also in the mix in the early days of practice.

That trio has combined to throw three varsity passes entering 2018.

While Coupeville’s passing game will be new-look, its running game retains almost every contributor from last season, one reason Carr hails it as a key strength.

Junior Sean Toomey-Stout is healthy again after a devastating injury ended his breakout sophomore campaign at the halfway point, and “The Torpedo” is primed to slice through defenses.

When he went down during week #5 at Vashon, it changed the direction of the season.

Toomey-Stout was Coupeville’s top rusher and among the state leaders in tackles from his defensive back position, before taking a blow to his leg as he headed out-of-bounds.

While the Wolves hung on to beat the Pirates, improving to 3-2, CHS dropped its final five games.

Injuries tore through Coupeville’s roster in 2017, and by the season finale against Cascade Christian, almost every major offensive contributor was on the sideline in street clothes.

Seniors Matt Hilborn and Chris Battaglia (both coming off of injuries) and junior Andrew Martin also ran strong a year ago and could help Toomey-Stout.

Battaglia’s status for the season is a question mark, though, as he continues to recuperate.

As the Wolves plow through the first days of practice (the season opener, a non-conference game at Port Townsend, is Aug. 31), the lineup will shift and change.

Whomever ends up lined up for that first kickoff will carry the weight of the past, and the hope of the future, with them.

Coupeville hasn’t posted a winning record on the gridiron since 2005, but bolstered by “an ability to run the ball on offense and a swarming, ball-hawking defense,” the Wolves are ready to surprise people.

The mission? To live up to the mantra preached by their new head coach.

“Our goal is always to win league and make the playoffs,” Carr said. “Always.”

A fraction of the athletes who have powered Coupeville Sports over the past six years.

Best part of a blog anniversary? Getting a giant cookie from your supporters.

It’s still the middle of the summer.

That was the first sentence to be published here on Coupeville Sports, way back in the Mesozoic Era, or Aug. 15, 2012, if we’re being precise.

And now, here we are, six years and 6,258 articles later.

I’ve survived being temporarily banned from the CHS press box, attacked by a South Whidbey blog which belly-flopped and floated away after publishing two whole articles, and twice flirting with bringing this whole endeavor to a premature end.

Fueled by countless tasty goodies offered up from faithful fans, transported by “the car that wouldn’t die” (until it did last week…), I endure.

And fight on, from world headquarters on the shores of Penn Cove, publishing random articles at 2 AM, while using a computer powered by three imaginary hamsters on a treadmill (Thaddeus, Leopold and Lil’ Skippy).

If you look back at the history of Coupeville Sports, it began in anger, but has (hopefully) morphed into something bigger and better over time.

I was cheesed off in Aug. 2012.

The Coupeville Examiner, where my words appeared for 15 years, through thousands of movie columns and sports stories, had just sold itself to a Canadian behemoth which already owned the Whidbey News-Times and South Whidbey Record.

Shortly after that lil’ bit of journalistic seppuku, all of my Examiner articles forever disappeared off the internet.

Having been paid very little for my freelance work (which was fine and my choice, because at the time I bought fully into the idea we were fighting the “Evil Empire”), my by-lined stories were all I had.

And then poof. They were gone, short of tracking down and buying a print copy of every back issue of The Examiner.

Whether it was a truly accidental data entry error, or an intentional, thought-out middle finger from a giant corporation, doesn’t really matter.

It was enough to goad me into launching my own news outlet, and, at least in the early days, keep me hammering away at my keyboard.

I was much chippier in the earlier days of Coupeville Sports, starting tiffs with athletes, coaches and supporters from South Whidbey, ATM and King’s, to name but a few.

Some of it was entertaining, much of it was good for fueling readership growth, but ultimately, it wasn’t the path I needed to be on.

There’s a reason other local blogs like Island Politics have vanished from the scene. If all you pump out is bile, eventually you’ll choke to death on it.

And, while Coupeville Sports was, at worst, .02% of an equal to the slimy cesspool the IP morons created in their basement/dungeon, I’ve tried to go in more of a positive, constructive direction as I (slowly) mature.

Most days, anyway…

Now we’re heading into year #7, and league #3. From the Cascade Conference to the Olympic League and now on to the North Sound Conference, at least for a bit.

Coupeville is among the smallest 1A schools in the state and there is a solid chance the Wolves will be on the move again shortly, most likely down to 2B.

For at least one year, though, it’s reunion time, as CHS links back up with former rivals South Whidbey, King’s, Granite Falls, Sultan and new foe Cedar Park Christian.

Football practice kicks off today, with all the other fall sports set to open this coming Monday. Middle school sports start soon after.

A new school year brings with it the possibility of new stars, new story-lines, new surprises.

Having gotten past a slight bump in the road recently, I am recommitted and re-energized, and, as always, deeply appreciative of my readers.

Your support, both financially and emotionally, is what drives me to keep going, documenting the ever-unfolding story of athletics on the prairie.

Coupeville Sports, from day one to wherever that finish line may be, will remain free to read. No pay wall, ever.

And while I may be the one writing the blog, it remains very much a community effort.

The more info you pass on to me, the more complete my coverage can be. If there is ever a question, “Should I tell him about…” the answer is always “Yes, you should.”

When it comes to what appears on Coupeville Sports, if you like something, say something. Maybe just as importantly, if you don’t like something, say something.

Praise or criticism, free food or angry glares, it all provides me with a compass to use as I chart our journey.

Where the path we’re blazing is going to end up, none of us know. But it should be interesting getting there.