Ema Smith, seen here on the dodge ball court, will be busy on the soccer pitch this coming week. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You can see the end of the trail from here.

Fall sports, while still in full swing, are definitely starting to wind down a bit as we plunge into the middle of Oct.

Boys tennis and girls soccer both wrap up their regular seasons this week, and both Coupeville squads could end their entire run as early as the weekend.

The netters host Seattle Academy Monday and Eastside Prep Wednesday, before traveling to Seattle Saturday for the Emerald City League tourney.

The Wolves will be bringing two singles players and two doubles teams to the Amy Yee Tennis Center.

Finish highly enough, and you get to pop back to the same locale the next day for districts. Don’t, and all that’s left is to plan for the season-ending banquet.

Soccer hosts South Whidbey Monday, travels to Granite Falls Wednesday and then may have an extra game Saturday.

If the Wolves and Sultan remain tied for fifth-place, and the last playoff berth out of the North Sound Conference, they meet Oct. 20 to decide who moves on, and who turns in uniforms.

That game would be in Sultan, as the Turks got a better draw when league Athletic Directors did a blind draw for postseason seeding.

Whichever team nets the #5 slot advances to the double-elimination district tourney, where they open against defending state champion King’s.

While cross country also kicks off its postseason run next weekend, volleyball and football still have two weeks left of regular season play.

The gridiron gang goes to Bothell Friday to play Cedar Park Christian, then returns home for Senior Night Oct. 26 against Granite Falls.

The Wolves are hanging on to faint playoff hopes, and the next two weeks will decide whether they spend week #10 kicking off the postseason or looking for a final cross-over game with another non-playoff squad.

Volleyball, which is far and away enjoying the best season of any Wolf program, has a big clash Monday, when the Wolves welcome South Whidbey to town.

The winner of that game will sit in sole-possession of second-place with three matches to go.

After that, Coupeville’s spikers travel to Granite Falls Wednesday, then have match-ups with first-place King’s and cellar-dweller Sultan the week after.


Standings through Oct. 14:


North Sound Conference volleyball:

School League Overall
King’s 6-0 9-1
South Whidbey 4-2 7-4
CPC-Bothell 3-3 7-4
Granite Falls 1-5 3-7
Sultan 0-6 3-7

North Sound Conference football:

School League Overall
CPC-Bothell 3-0 5-1
King’s 2-1 2-5
South Whidbey 2-1 5-2
Granite Falls 1-2 1-6
Sultan 1-2 2-5

North Sound Conference girls soccer:

School League Overall
King’s 8-0 13-1
Granite Falls 5-3 6-6-1
South Whidbey 5-3 7-5-1
CPC-Bothell 4-4 7-6
COUPEVILLE 1-7 2-10-1
Sultan 1-7 5-9

Emerald City League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Seattle Academy 10-0 10-0
Overlake 8-3 8-3
University Prep 7-3 7-4
South Whidbey 5-7 5-7
Bush 4-7 4-7
Bear Creek 2-10 2-10
Eastside Prep 0-8 0-8

L to r, top to bottom, it’s Natasha Bamberger, Hailey Bell, Nathan Bellamy, BreAnna Boon, Tyson Boon, Kwamane Bowens, Bobby Carr, Marcus Carr, Kyle Nelson, Bennett Richter, Gabe Shaw, Chris Smith, Ken Stange, Cory Whitmore and Robert Wood.

CMS coaches join the fracas. L to r, top to bottom, are Casie Greve, Elizabeth Bitting, Michael Davidson, Junior Scroggins, Sarah Lyngra and Brett Casey.

Let’s get ready to rumble, one more time!

Nothing sends a jolt through the crowd quite like dropping a hot ‘n spicy poll in the midst of an otherwise sleepy morning, then giving everyone limited time (but unlimited votes) to decide the very fate of the universe.

Instead of waiting until the end of the school year, and having way too many people involved, I’m jumping the gun on my annual Coach of the Year poll and turning it into a Fall Sports Coach of the Season event.

Even then, we’re looking at 21 men and women entering the arena, covering six high school squads and three middle school programs.

If this goes over well, I’ll be back to drop separate Winter and Spring versions of the poll.

And, if not, well, I’ll get a lot of page hits in the next two days. So, I’m fine either way.

If you haven’t been involved in a Coupeville Sports poll, or haven’t been paying attention during previous battle royals, here’s the rules:

There are none.

From the moment the poll drops, at around 9 AM Saturday, Oct. 13, until it closes 48 hours later, at 9 AM, Monday, Oct. 14, you can vote as many times as your little fingers desire.

Whip up your fan base. Fight for the glory of being the “CHS/CMS Top Coach of the Fall.” Just don’t expect an actual trophy when you win.

Or completely ignore my poll, go about your daily business and roll your eyes at me the next time we cross paths.

Completely your call.

But, like I said, it’s Wild West rules, pretty much.

I’m not going to stop you from mashing the keys on whatever device(s) you have, and if WordPress itself tries to slow down your voting (which it has on very rare occasions), you can usually beat it by jumping to a different device.

And with that, let the bodies hit the floor!

Gavin St Onge played strongly on defense Friday, but Coupeville was unable to topple South Whidbey. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It would have been easy to pack it in.

After surrendering 34 points in an eight-and-a-half minute span Friday at South Whidbey, including three touchdowns in 90 seconds, the Coupeville High School football team had little to play for in the second half.

Facing a running clock and near-certain defeat at the hands of their Island neighbors, the Wolves knew they would be surrendering The Bucket after winning the annual rivalry game two straight years and four of the last six.

But, while Coupeville did eventually fall 48-20, sliced ‘n diced by Falcon QB Kody Newman and his support crew, the undermanned Wolves didn’t take the easy way out.

Instead, they rallied for two fourth-quarter touchdowns and a two-point conversion pass, held South Whidbey scoreless in the second half (even with Newman under center through the end of the third quarter), and exited Langley heads high.

While the loss puts Coupeville’s playoff hopes on life support, the unexpected news previously win-less Granite Falls scorched Sultan 34-6 Friday means the Wolves are still in the mix for one of the North Sound Conference postseason berths.

Four of the six teams in the league advance to the playoffs, and CHS is a game out of fourth-place with two to play.

Cedar Park Christian, which clobbered King’s 28-14 Friday, sits atop the standings at 3-0, while King’s and South Whidbey are 2-1.

Granite and Sultan are 1-2, with Coupeville at 0-3.

The Wolves, who are 3-4 overall on the season, finish with a road game at Cedar Park Oct. 19 and a home game against Granite Oct. 26.

While the first half Friday, especially the second quarter, is something Coupeville might like to forget, first-year coach Marcus Carr and his staff can point to their player’s grit down the stretch as something to build around.

When they do, they can look to the team they lost to for an example of how bad luck and worse win/loss records can be turned around.

With the Falcons flying high at 5-2 this season, after a 7-2 run last year, it might be easy to forget how badly a once-proud program had crashed.

Plagued by frequent coaching turnover and loss of players, South Whidbey suffered through three fairly terrible seasons from 2014-2016.

The Falcons were just 4-25 in that span, and in desperate need of a turnaround.

They got it when former coach Mark Hodson returned to revive the program, using Newman, a tennis prodigy turned gridiron warrior, to run his offense.

South Whidbey got permission to play an independent schedule last season, and, after losses to fellow 1A schools Coupeville and Chimacum, won seven straight against 2B and Canadian schools.

With their roster filling out nicely, and a renewed sense of pride in the program, the Falcons are once again on the upswing, and they showed it Friday night.

Playing in front of its Homecoming Crowd, South Whidbey dodged two early bullets, then made Coupeville pay for its mistakes.

A bad snap on their opening drive pinned the Falcons all the way back to their one-yard line, and, while they picked up a few yards to prevent any pesky safeties, they quickly sent out the punting unit.

Call it luck (good for the home team, bad for the visitors) or skill, but South Whidbey recovered the punt when Coupeville muffed a catch in traffic.

Given the ball right back, and hyped up on its ability to twist and turn, “Matrix“-style, avoiding the Wolves best effort to land an early KO, the Falcons promptly went to work.

Mixing runs with the occasional screen pass, then punctuating the drive with a 31-yard zig-zag scamper by its nimble-toed QB, South Whidbey marched down the field, punched the ball in to the end zone on a short run, and set the tone for the rest of the night.

A second touchdown, this one on a 57-yard dash to daylight on their very next possession, staked the Falcons to a 14-0 lead and seemed to be a crippler.

But there was still hope, at least for a bit, as Wolf junior Sean Toomey-Stout brought back the kickoff 40+ yards, before being snared by Newman, the only man between “The Torpedo” and the end zone.

While he was denied on that play, Toomey-Stout got his taste of glory soon after, hooking up with Wolf QB Dawson Houston on a gorgeous 20-yard scoring strike on fourth down early in the second quarter, out-jumping the defender, then spinning him in circles.

South Whidbey blocked the PAT, holding the score to 14-6, and memories of past Bucket games, of hard-fought battles decided by late plays, were on most fan’s minds.

And then the wheels sort of fell off.

Or, to give them credit, the Falcons knocked the wheels off.

Newman, facing third-and-two, dropped a sweet pass between defenders, then watched as Aiden Coleman turned a short gain into a game-busting 35-yard touchdown.

The PAT was snuffed, but it barely mattered, as Newman added scoring runs of seven and 10 yards, while juking the Wolves out of their shoes, before South Whidbey’s defense got nasty.

The Falcons returned a fumble for a touchdown, then picked off a pass and took it to the house, crossing the goal line with just a single second left on the clock.

The tsunami of points in the second quarter was a particular blow to Coupeville, which entered the night as the #2 scoring defense in the league.

While the Wolf D was missing four starters — Chris Battaglia, Andrew Martin, Jake Pease and Xavier Murdy — it’s questionable whether they would have changed things with the Falcons clicking on all cylinders.

We can wonder, but we’ll never know. Either way, respect should be paid to the Falcons for running their game plan nearly perfectly.

South Whidbey, which has a 36-player roster to Coupeville’s 18 active players, gave its bench a lot of playing time in the second half, while keeping some of its big timers in to provide leadership.

And leadership is what Houston, a junior in his first season as the Wolf starting QB, brings every game.

Standing tall in the pocket, he connected with Toomey-Stout on a 69-yard catch-and-run for a TD, then fired an 11-yard laser onto the fingertips of Gavin Knoblich for another score.

That gave Houston, who also hit Matt Hilborn on a two-point conversion pass to end the game, a career-best night.

His three touchdown passes against the Falcons were just one shy of tying Coupeville’s single-game record, jointly held by Corey Cross, Brad Sherman and Hunter Downes.

Toomey-Stout’s scoring catches were his ninth and tenth touchdowns this year, while Knoblich’s TD snag was his second.

As the final seconds ticked away Friday, the two teams, representing schools separated by a relatively short drive, had much in common, regardless of the score.

One program is back on the rise, basking in the glow of rebirth, while the other is putting in the work to get where the other resides.

As he scooped up The Bucket from where it had rested all game on Coupeville’s sideline, Newman, getting ready to run from teammates ready to mob him, momentarily dropped the trophy.

It was a rare slip-up on a fairly flawless night for the Falcon gunslinger, but one he quickly dealt with, snatching the wayward memento and gunning it for the other side of the field, his teammates in giddy pursuit.

What could be a depressing moment for Wolf players, coaches and fans, watching South Whidbey celebrate as its band played on and on (and on some more), should instead be something to spur Coupeville in the coming weeks and years.

The Falcons were as low as you could go two years ago, teetering on the edge of not having a program to play for, and now here they are, revived, reborn and resilient.

You don’t have to enjoy being on the wrong side of a game like this, but you can use it as fuel.

Do that, and not too very far down the road, the Wolves can be launching their own post-game celebrations on a regular basis.

Gut check time!!

Scout Smith soars for a ball Thursday night. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolf spikers are 7-2 on the season, tied for second-place in the North Sound Conference.

Chelsea Prescott (left) and Emma Smith rise up and deny.

You can find the measure of a team in how it responds when it’s at its lowest moment.

With that in mind, the next few days will tell us a lot about the 2018 Coupeville High School volleyball squad.

Coming in to Thursday’s home match with Cedar Park Christian, the Wolves were flying high, their only loss coming at the hands of King’s, the defending 1A state champs.

Blessed with big hitters, strong servers and a nimble setter in Scout Smith, CHS had the markings of a team which seemed primed to make a run at a second-straight trip to the state tourney.

And the Wolves still could.

While it suffered a major stumble Thursday, falling in five sets to a school it swept 3-0 the first time around, and doing so by continually misfiring and having to fight back from deficits, this is still a very-talented team.

Now, these Wolves, led by seniors Ashley Menges and Emma Smith, will have to brush off their 25-18, 23-25, 25-18, 19-25, 15-5 loss to the Eagles and prove they are as mentally tough as they are skilled.

This weekend, Coupeville travels to Eastern Washington for the 14-team Wenatchee Invite, where the Wolves will get a chance to work out the kinks against much-bigger schools.

Monday, Oct. 15 brings a major gut-check, as CHS hosts South Whidbey, which it edged in five titanic sets the first time around.

The Wolves (4-2 in league, 7-2 overall) and Falcons (4-2, 7-4) are tied for second-place in the North Sound Conference, two back of King’s (6-0, 9-1) and a game up on Cedar Park (3-3, 7-4) with four to play.

Granite Falls (1-5, 3-7) and Sultan (0-6, 3-7) bring up the rear.

The loss to CPC was a largely self-inflicted one, as the Wolves piled up hitting errors, blunting their often-ferocious attack.

Emma Smith and Menges combined to stuff an Eagle spike in the early going, knotting things up at 3-3 in the first set, but things quickly spiraled out of control.

Coupeville’s only lead in the opening frame was at 2-1, and it fell behind by as many as eight points, allowing CPC to claim first blood.

The second set was better, if not a smashing success, as the Wolves never trailed by more than a single point.

Chelsea Prescott and Emma Smith brought out the big hammers, drilling winners which ripped holes through the fabric of time and space, while Hannah Davidson dropped a superb tip winner which froze all the Eagles in place.

The Wolves went ahead for good at 19-18, after Maya Toomey-Stout bounced a spike off of a girl’s elbow, then “The Gazelle” topped herself several plays later when she lasered a winner while hanging in mid-air at mid-court.

But, as quickly as Coupeville found its mojo, it lost it again, trailing from the first serve to the final aborted spike in the third set.

Toomey-Stout and Emma Smith delivered big kills in frame three, but the Wolves, normally a very-efficient team at the service stripe, struggled to sustain any runs.

The best play in set three was a desperation one, in which Menges, crashing to her knees, threw out an arm and kept a seemingly-dead play alive, setting up an eventual winner from Davidson.

Things turned really dark in the early moments of the fourth set, with CHS falling behind 7-1.

But Toomey-Stout came bounding down the middle, took a jack rabbit jump in front of the net and speared the ball for a winner, injecting a jolt of electricity through her teammates and the (unfairly) sparse crowd.

Scout Smith, mainlining some of her running mate’s energy, out-fought an Eagle as they both went for a tip winner at the same moment.

Flexing her biceps, the Wolf junior held her ground (while in the air), forcing the ball up and over her foe’s fingertips, then pumping her fist as it slapped down and skidded away for a winner.

Coupeville claimed its first lead of the set at 11-10 and never surrendered it, with Prescott tagging balls off of wayward Eagles, Emma Smith ripping off arms with her kills and Toomey-Stout going “Maya Oh My” on one nuclear detonation of a put-away.

But when you spend all night digging yourself out of holes, you burn through a lot of energy, and it showed in the fifth and deciding set.

Other than one nice kill from Emma Smith, the final frame was a series of balls hitting Wolf hands and shooting off to the side, and despite several time outs, Coupeville couldn’t put a halt to a final tsunami of Eagle points.

The final score, and the night as a whole, left CHS coach Cory Whitmore drained.

“We have things to work on, and we will,” he said as he rubbed his temples. “I’m excited we took it to five sets, when we weren’t headed that way, and, overall, we passed better.

“This weekend will be a good opportunity for us.”

Toomey-Stout paced the Wolves Thursday with 14 kills, nine digs and two aces, while Emma Mathusek went low for 13 gigs and Scout Smith passed out 29 assists.

Prescott (six kills, five digs, two aces), Emma Smith (11 kills), Menges (three aces) and Davidson (four kills) all chipped in, with swing player Zoe Trujillo firing off a kill on the first play she was on the floor.


To see everything John Fisken shot Thursday, pop over to:


And remember, purchases help fund scholarships for CHS senior student/athletes.

Mallory Kortuem leads the charge Thursday as Coupeville and Cedar Park Christian waged a double overtime thriller. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Showing off their support for cancer research on Pink Night, the Wolves played under blue skies.

Ema Smith gets her head into the game.

Leaving the goalie in her dust, Anna Dion slaps home a goal.

Everything but the win.

Playing on a night when they raised awareness for cancer research, the Coupeville High School girls soccer team put together quite a show for the local fans.

Led by two more goals from rampaging sophomore sensation Genna Wright, the Wolves pushed visiting Cedar Park Christian to the very limit, before falling 4-3 in double overtime.

The Eagles slipped in the winning score with just over a minute left to play, averting a draw and keeping CHS locked in a tie for the final playoff berth out of the North Sound Conference.

With the narrow loss, the Wolves fall to 1-7 in league play, 2-10-1 overall.

Coupeville, which has two games left — Senior Night against South Whidbey Oct. 15 and a road trip to Granite Falls Oct. 17 — is tied with Sultan (1-7).

King’s (8-0) clinched the league title Thursday with a 2-1 win over Granite Falls (5-3), while South Whidbey (5-3) moved into a second-place tie with a 7-0 shellacking of Sultan.

With its win, Cedar Park Christian (4-4) sits in fourth-place.

Five of six teams from the North Sound Conference advance to the double-elimination district tourney, which starts Oct. 22, with the #5 seed drawing King’s in the first round.

If Coupeville and Sultan finish the regular season in a tie, they will meet Saturday, Oct. 20 to decide who will be the #5 seed.

The game will be on the turf in Sultan, thanks to a blind draw to determine tiebreaker hosts.

While the Wolves would have preferred a win Thursday, CHS coach Kyle Nelson was happy to see his team bounce back after a rough road loss earlier in the week.

“One of our best games, bringing things together,” he said. “It was an exciting back and forth game; we had more opportunities and they capitalized on some free kicks.”

Wright smacked a pair of goals into the back of the net to pace the Wolves, her sixth and seventh of her sophomore season.

That gives her 17 for her career, tying her with Lindsey Roberts for the lead among active players, and moving her halfway to the Wolf girls program record of 35 goals by Mia Littlejohn.

Coupeville’s other goal came from junior Anna Dion, who recorded her second score of the season.


To see everything John Fisken shot Thursday, pop over to:


When you do, remember, purchases help fund scholarships for two CHS senior student/athletes.