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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.”

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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.

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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.”

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   After two seasons playing football for South Whidbey High School, Alex Turner returns to Coupeville for his senior year.

Started as a Wolf, and will finish as a Wolf.

Alex Turner, an All-Conference lineman with South Whidbey, will be suiting up in Coupeville colors Wednesday when football practice begins.

A move related to an illness in the family is bringing him back to CHS for his senior year.

Turner worked his way up through the sports programs at Coupeville Middle School, then played football for CHS as a freshman before heading South.

During his sophomore season at SWHS, he was tabbed as a First-Team All-Conference pick on the offensive line by Cascade Conference coaches.

South Whidbey played an independent schedule last season, as the Falcons worked on rebuilding their program, so Turner and his teammates weren’t eligible for All-Conference honors.

Still, he helped the Falcons go 7-2, winning seven straight against 2B and Canadian schools after season-opening losses to Coupeville and Chimacum.

A six-foot, 210-pound middle linebacker/tight end, Turner hooked up with Falcon QB Kody Newman on several touchdown plays during their junior seasons.

One of those, a 20-yard snag, came against Concrete, a team coached by Marcus Carr, who is now Coupeville’s new head coach.

Turner will likely face his old teammates Oct. 12, when the Wolves travel to Langley with plans to rain on South Whidbey’s Homecoming parade.

CHS has won back-to-back games in the Island rivalry series, and wants to hold on to The Bucket for a third-straight year.

The game will also be a league contest, as Coupeville and South Whidbey are reuniting in the new North Sound Conference.

One wrinkle in the move is Turner also developed into a quality wrestler during his time at SWHS.

Coupeville doesn’t have a wrestling program of its own, but there is a chance he can attend one school and wrestle at another.

Over the past few years, Coupeville and South Whidbey have had an arrangement for sports not offered by CHS, such as golf and cross country.

In the deal, Wolf athletes were responsible for getting themselves to SWHS, then trained and traveled with the Falcons, while competing for Coupeville.

Whether that will be possible for wrestling is unknown at the moment.

“My wrestling is up in the air right now, which really sucks, but I’m doing everything I can to try and wrestle with SW,” Turner said.

“But, if that doesn’t happen, I’d probably go back to basketball, even though I’m not good at it,” he said with a determined laugh.

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After two years of running with South Whidbey, Danny Conlisk will help Coupeville relaunch its own in-school cross country program this fall. (Dawnelle Conlisk photo)

Paper work first.

If you’re planning on playing a sport or participating in an activity this fall for Coupeville High School or Middle School, you need to visit the high school office Tuesday, Aug. 14 between noon-6 PM and get registered.

This is the time to pay fees and fill out paperwork, NOT get physicals. But, if you don’t have a current one of those, get scramblin’.

CHS offers volleyball, football, boys tennis, girls soccer, cheer and cross country in the fall. The harrier program is returning to the school after a two-decade absence.

The middle school is also relaunching cross country, in addition to offering volleyball and football.

For more info, contact Eileen Stone at estone@coupeville.k12.wa.us or Lisa Yoder at lyoder@coupeville.k12.wa.us.

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