Parade pics rain down

CHS Homecoming royalty Owen Barenburg and Knight Arndt gear up for the annual parade. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Shenanigans are afoot.

Senior royalty, left to right, Emma Mathusek, Tia Wurzrainer, Hannah Davidson, and Ashleigh Battaglia.

“Punch the gas, son! I got a juice box waiting for me at home!!”

The floats get festive.

Senior royalty guns it for the open road. Back (l to r) are Sean Toomey-Stout, Gabe Carlson, Jered Brown. Front: James Wood, Gavin Knoblich.

Chris Ruck is ready to rumble.

The teachers join the celebration.

Boys tennis makes a … racket.

Volleyball stars (l to r) Vivian Farris, Gwen Gustafson, and Taygin Jump hit the open road.

Before the game, before the dance, the biggest show arrived early.

With Coupeville High School celebrating Homecoming all week, the finale was kicked off Friday afternoon, when the annual parade snaked through town.

John Fisken snapped the pics seen above, and he has more to offer.

Pop over to the link below and this time all of his photos are available to be downloaded and shared for free:


CHS freshman Tim Ursu, giving up 100 or more pounds to 11 different South Whidbey players, twice picked up hard-earned first downs Friday on strong runs. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“I’ll take this effort and fight any day.”

In less than two full seasons at the helm of the Coupeville High School football team, coach Marcus Carr has brought a new fire to the program.

The current incarnation of the Wolves already have their most wins in a single season since 2014, and even in their losses, have shown a fight missing in recent years.

While Carr wanted a win Friday night, a Homecoming victory against South Whidbey that would have given the Wolves ownership of The Bucket, he didn’t get it.

Coupeville fell 35-7 to a visiting Falcon team which boasts 14 seniors and twice as many 200+ pound players as a freshman-heavy Wolf roster does.

South Whidbey football, which came back from the brink of extinction thanks to the return of coach Mark Hodson, has earned its 5-2 record this year thanks to good, hard-nosed defensive play and an opportunistic offense.

But, even with the loss, which snaps a three-game winning streak, Coupeville is still sitting strong at 4-3 with two very winnable games left on its schedule.

A victory away from posting the first winning record by a CHS football team since 2005, this year’s squad hasn’t backed down from anyone.

And that’s why Carr could see the positives as he surveyed the field after Friday’s loss.

“We showed a lot of fight, fought hard against a big, strong team,” he said. “Our whole defensive unit really stood up for us and did their best to hold them, even when they were put in bad positions a lot of the time.”

South Whidbey entered the game on the heels of an agonizing loss on the road to Cedar Park Christian, a royal rumble where the Falcons surrendered the winning score on a 90+ yard drive during the final two minutes of action.

Coupeville came in having bounced La Conner, Kittitas, and Northwest Christian in succession, the last two after making epic road trips.

With both teams boasting 4-2 records at the start of the night, the best on Whidbey Island, as Oak Harbor struggles through a 1-6 rebuilding season which includes another loss Friday, the table was set.

For much of the first half, it was a war of attrition, with both teams moving the ball, only to find the opposing defense unwilling to bend.

The Wolves opened the game mixing up runs from Andrew Martin and Dakota Eck with a big pass play on which Gavin Straub shot from right to left at the last second and hauled in a quick heave from Dawson Houston.

Another pass play to Sean Toomey-Stout, this one also a 10-yard pick-up like Straub’s catch, had the Wolves on the move in Falcon territory.

But that was where things stalled out, with two penalties pushing the Wolves back, before they coughed up the ball on a fumble.

If South Whidbey thought it would immediately capitalize, it was wrong, however.

The Falcons had first-and-goal from the Wolf seven-yard line, only to have Coupeville drive them back, and hard.

CHS Homecoming King Gavin Knoblich, wearing an eye-popping pair of shoes, came hurtling through a hole in the line, chasing down a South Whidbey runner who bobbled the pitch, then had nowhere to go.

Putting his man down hard, the Wolf senior cost the Falcons 12 yards, and two plays later, the ball was back in Coupeville’s hands after a run over the middle went nowhere and a pass bounced short of its intended target.

That set a trend for the rest of the first quarter, as both defenses dominated.

Gabe Shaw, Martin, and Toomey-Stout refused to give the Falcons anything, but South Whidbey’s defense was just as smothering.

As the quarter ended, both teams fumbled the ball away under intense pressure, and the scoreboard showed nothing but zeroes at the first break.

A couple of long punts, and South Whidbey picking off a halfback pass, and the thought fans would never see a score lingered in the air.

But the Falcon seniors, who brought the program back from dark days, which included losses to Coupeville as freshmen and sophomores, changed the game.

First man up was Billy Rankin, a 5-foot-6, 142-pound sledgehammer, who finally busted through the Wolf defense, crashing around the left side for a 26-yard touchdown run with a little over eight minutes left in the first half.

Not content to sting the Wolves just once, he popped back up a few plays later, bringing back a Coupeville punt 40+ yards to set his offense up.

A face mask penalty on Coupeville on the ensuing drive was costly, and then Falcon senior Aiden Coleman powered in from three yards away to stretch the lead out.

Racing the halftime clock, the Wolves tried to get a drive rolling, only to have the referees bring out the chain crew to measure on THREE consecutive plays.

Unsung Wolf heroes Lark Gustafson and Randy Payne, earning their halftime treats, which included some pretty dang good brownies they shared with the press box crew, got their moment in the spotlight.

As well as some good-natured razzing from clock operator Joel Norris.

“Get ’em some oxygen! They’re gonna need it!!,” he giggled.

The third time was the charm, as Coupeville finally got their hard-earned first down. Only to see the drive sputter out on another pick off of a halfback pass, this one thrown by a different Wolf.

Even down 14-0 at the half, it still felt like the Wolves were very much in the game.

Until the Falcons smacked Cow Town with a one-two combo early in the third quarter.

First, South Whidbey QB Kole Nelson hooked up with tall target Brady Hezel on a 35-yard touchdown pass which stung even worse since it came on fourth-and-11.

Then, after coughing up another fumble on their very first offensive play after the ensuing kickoff, the Wolves sent a tired defense immediately back on the field.

Two plays later, Bodi Hezel joined his brother in the scoring column, slamming in on a short, effective run.

In just 24 seconds of game time, the score went from 14-0 to 28-0, then it stayed that way most of the rest of the way.

With the Falcons facing a fourth-and-five from the Wolf seven-yard line, Knoblich once again stood tall, blowing up the runner and forcing a turnover on downs.

But South Whidbey punched another ball free, before Brady Hezel picked off a pass on his side of the field and took off for a pick-six which covered 60+ yards and pushed the Falcon lead to 35-0.

Even down by five scores, the Wolves, as they have in every game this season, showed no quit.

Freshman Tim Ursu, who gives up 100 or more pounds to at least 11 Falcons, twice broke off runs which gave the Wolves first downs, while Toomey-Stout found a little razzle-dazzle to end the game on a positive note.

Following Brady Hezel’s pick-six, the Falcons lofted a kickoff which, like every punt or kick, went in the opposite direction of the much-feared man known as “The Torpedo.”

On this final kick, Jonathan Partida brought the ball down into his arms, then broke to the right.

Only, instead of running with it, he crossed up the Falcons, flipping the ball to the streak of light slashing across the field in his direction.

The ball on his fingertips, no matter what South Whidbey had intended, Toomey-Stout took two quick strides, burst through a pack of would-be tacklers, and was gone, baby, gone.

Covering 55 yards in a few powerful strides, the Wolf senior crossed the line for his seventh touchdown of the season. He’s scored five on pass receptions, one on a pick-six, and now, finally, one on a return.

And I say finally, since Toomey-Stout has had no less than three return touchdowns called back this season thanks to penalty flags thrown at his young blockers.

This time, the flags stayed safely tucked into the pockets of the officials, and the electric scoring play, punctuated by a booming PAT from frosh Daylon Houston, kept CHS from being shut out for the first time this season.

Gavin Knoblich is your 2019 Coupeville High School Homecoming King. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Tia Wurzrainer, three-sport star and ice cream scooper extraordinaire at Kapaws Iskreme, is your Homecoming Queen.

It all came down to taking a bite of a cupcake.

Ten seniors, nominated by their peers, formed the 2019 Coupeville High School Homecoming court, with the King and Queen revealed Friday night at halftime of the Wolf football game.

Each senior was handed a cupcake, with the winners revealed when their sugary treat turned out to be full of sprinkles.

Taking the crowns were Tia Wurzrainer and Gavin Knoblich, who both are three-sport athletes for the Wolves.

The rest of the Homecoming royalty:


Senior Princesses:

Ashleigh Battaglia
Hannah Davidson
Emma Mathusek
Maya Toomey-Stout


Senior Princes:

Jered Brown
Gabe Carlson
Sean Toomey-Stout
James Wood


Junior Princess:

Knight Arndt


Junior Prince:

Owen Barenburg


Sophomore Princess:

Ja’Kenya Hoskins


Sophomore Prince:

Andrew Aparicio


Freshman Princess:

Nezi Keiper


Freshman Prince:

Alex Murdy


Faculty Duchess:

Stephanie Ask


Faculty Duke:

Kyle Nelson

Alex Bowder fears not your puny rain. (Elizabeth Bitting photos)

The end result of running in the October mud.

Cole White is crowned as the Fall King.

It was messy. It was weird. But it was fun, too.

Running for the final time during the regular season, the Coupeville Middle School cross country team and coach Elizabeth Bitting survived a wild trip Thursday to Sultan.

The Wolves didn’t get lost on the 1.7 mile trail at Osprey Park — that was a different school, thanks to “high school hooligans removing signs on the course, and causing a 30 minute delay.”

Once the missing team was found, and everyone was assured no one had resorted to cannibalism while lost in the wilds, the weather took front stage.

October rain dumped in buckets, turning the course into a wet, muddy, slippery obstacle course.

But all of the Wolves endured, plus they got to see salmon spawn on the trip (and no cannibals), so win-win.

“It was a very eventful afternoon!,” Bitting said. “Both boys and girls ran amazingly!

“Goals were met, mud was all over runners legs, runner were drenched, and on the bus ride to Granite all I hear is laughter!,” she added. “This coach is content!”

Bitting also added a big shout-out to bus driver Kathy Bennett, who had to haul two cross country teams to different towns Thursday.

While the middle school harriers hopped off in Sultan, the high school runners stayed on the bus until it reached Granite Falls.

“For this race, I felt for our wonderful bus driver,” Bitting said. “THANK YOU, Kathy!!”

With the regular season ending Thursday, the CMS runners have one meet left, but it’s a big one.

The Wolves head off to South Whidbey Oct. 23 for the Cascade League Championships.


Complete Thursday results:


7th/8th graders:


Ayden Wyman (16th) 13:22.6
Marlen Montiel (18th) 13:58.7
Lillian Stanwood (19th) 13:58.9
Sofia Milasich (21st) 14:07.6
Edie Bittner (22nd) 14:19.0
Sam McMahon (26th) 14:42.5
Erica McGrath (30th) 14:57.7
Aubrey Blitch (31st) 15:23.8


Cole White (5th) 10:42.6
Jack Porter (7th) 10:46.4
Landon Roberts (11th) 10:54.3
Hank Milnes
(12th) 10:55.5
Hayden Harry
(28th) 11:43.5
Jayden Moses
(32nd) 11:48.7
Thomas Strelow
(48th) 12:30.4
Johnny Porter
(52nd) 12:40.9
Alex Clark
(65th) 14:51.6
Alex Bowder
(66th) 14:54.4
Gabe Reed
(70th) 18:18.3


6th graders (Times recorded, but not standings):


Teagan Calkins 13:17
Aleksia Jump
Dianne Brown
Brynn Parker
Liza Zustiak


Cody Badger 11:40
Malichi Somes
George Spear
Adrian Cunningham

Vivian Farris was sensational Thursday, as she and the Wolf C-Team pulled off a truly stunning comeback win. (Brian Vick photos)

“We’re just here to take all the wins, baby!!”

Al Michaels called. He doesn’t believe it.

The announcer who gave the world “Do you believe in miracles?” ran out of words when confronted with what went down in South Whidbey’s #2 gym Thursday night.

Down a set and coming back to win? Sure.

Facing 12 consecutive match points and fighting them all off? Um…

Pulling together as a team and playing absolute flawless volleyball for five torrid minutes, the Coupeville High School C-Team volleyball squad shocked the crowd (and anyone reading this), while ripping out the collective hearts of their next door neighbors.

Reading the score, which came out 19-25, 25-16, 28-26 in favor of the Wolves doesn’t do it total justice.

And, as fate would have it, I wasn’t in the room for this one, as both the Coupeville JV and C-Team were playing at the same time, and I chose the main gym, where there was a pretty intense match-up of its own.

But the C-Team squad dodging death, destruction and what would have been its first loss to anyone other than the juggernaut known as King’s, was obviously the match of the night.

Possibly of the season.

“I can’t feel my face!”

“Is this real life?”

“Oh lord, where’s my pacemaker???”

“I’m just saying, there should be a 2-for-1 deal on hot dogs for all Wolf fans after that one…”

All pertinent comments coming out of the mouths of dazed, confused and deliriously happy Coupeville fans as they exited the side gym to rejoin their brethren in the big room.

The win lifts the Wolf spikers to 6-1 in league play, 7-1 overall, but is bigger, much bigger.

This is the kind of victory, the kind of jolt to the psyche of all involved, which can launch a thousand future celebrations.

Bouncing back from an early deficit, one of the few they have faced this season, Krimson Rector’s squad of furious fightin’ freshmen came roaring back multiple times.

A dominating performance in set two evened things up, but the Falcons seemed to have recovered, up 24-12 in the third frame, needing just a single, solitary point to get over the top.

It was a point which never came, as Wolf Vivian Farris, channeling the spirit of Lauren Rose, the calmest server in CHS volleyball history, went off on a tear at the line.

One point, two points, five points, the collar constricting around every Falcon’s neck, and the “we’ve got this” spirit growing in the soul of each Coupeville player.

All the way back to 24-24 the Wolves came, and then the two squads went at it in the middle of the ring, pounding shots to the ribs and refusing to fall.

Mercedes Kalwies-Anderson came up with big plays for CHS, and then the battlin’ Lucero twins, Allie and Maya, sealed the deal.

The final point was a wild one, with a return allegedly bouncing off a basketball backboard, before Coupeville put South Whidbey out of its misery.

At least for the moment.

Ten years from now, when a random Falcon player thinks back on this night, she may start screaming for no reason.

It’s possible. Very possible.

For the Wolves however, for Rector and her rampaging crew of win-happy big hitters, this will be one for the memory books.

The cold hard facts will show Ryanne Knoblich led the air attack, smacking seven kills, while Jordyn Rogers (3), Kalwies-Anderson (2), Farris (1), and Allie Lucero (1) all chipped in.

At the line, Gwen Gustafson popped a team-best four service aces, with Rogers, Farris, and Maya Lucero throwing down three apiece.

But, as is always the case with epic matches like this, it’s about more than just the stats.

It’s about Gustafson charging out of the side gym and bear-hugging a teammate as she told her the final score.

It’s about the Lucero twins, relating the tale of the final, frantic moments, words tumbling out, then dissolving into huge smiles as dad Aaron beamed like the sun over the Serengeti.

It’s about Rector, poppin’ gum and pumpin’ fists, as she rambled into the big gym to join fellow Wolf coaches Cory Whitmore and Chris Smith for the varsity contest.

It’s about the future of Coupeville volleyball. A future which seems to have few limitations.