Archive for the ‘Football’ Category

Scheduling changes will alter when you see Coupeville High School athletes like Raven Vick play this week. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Schedule? Where we’re going, we don’t need a schedule.

OK, actually we do, so everyone needs to pay attention, because the North Sound Conference just threw a wrench into this coming week’s plans.

Specifically, the changes concern Senior Night games for Coupeville High School volleyball, football, band and cheer.

The CHS home volleyball match against Sultan scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 25 has been bumped forward a night and will go down Wednesday, Oct. 24.

JV plays at 5:15, varsity at 7, and Wolf seniors Ashley Menges and Emma Smith will be honored before the varsity match.

Then, the CHS home football game against Granite Falls is leaving behind Friday Night Lights and also jumping forward a day.

The gridiron clash is now Thursday, Oct. 25, with kickoff at 7. Senior football players, cheerleaders and band members will all be honored before the game.

The changes are being made by the league because of the possibility of three football teams finishing in a tie for the fourth, and final, NSC playoff berth.

That would happen if Coupeville beats Granite and Sultan loses to league champ Cedar Park Christian.

It things play out that way, the three football teams would meet Saturday, Oct. 27, with two teams playing a half, then the winner facing off with the third team for the playoff berth.

By bumping the regular season finale from Friday to Thursday, it would give the teams an off day before the potential playoff.

Volleyball was bumped up, so Senior Nights wouldn’t conflict.

The result is the spikers will have an extra rest day before they start the district playoffs Oct. 27.

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CHS football players like Alex Turner are still alive for a playoff berth. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Improbable, but not impossible.

Despite losing its first four league games, the Coupeville High School football team is still in the running for a playoff berth entering the final week of the regular season.

While the top three slots are clinched, the fourth, and final, spot is a three-way battle between the Wolves, Granite Falls and Sultan, and the scrap could go into overtime.

As we head towards the regular season finale Oct. 26, here’s what we know.


Final games:

Granite Falls (1-3) at Coupeville (0-4)

King’s (3-1) at South Whidbey (3-1)

Cedar Park Christian (4-0) at Sultan (1-3)


Who’s in:

CPC is the league champ and #1 seed, while King’s and South Whidbey play for the #2 and #3 berths.


The battle for #4:

If Granite beats Coupeville, it gets the final berth. The Tigers would have two wins, and even if Sultan also won, own a tiebreaker on the Turks, having beat them.

If Granite loses and Sultan upsets CPC, the Turks, with two wins, get the final berth.

If Coupeville wins and Sultan loses, it’s a three-way tie, with all three teams having one league win, and having won, and lost, against one of the teams they’re tied with.


So, if it’s a three-way tie, what happens:

Coupeville, Sultan and Granite meet Saturday, Oct. 27. Early word is the royal rumble would go down in Granite, and start time hasn’t been announced.

Depending on a blind draw, teams #1 and #2 would play one half of a game.

Loser is done, and exits the stadium on their way to a week #10 cross-over game with another non-playoff team.

Winner stays on to play a second half against team #3, with winner of that game getting the playoff berth.


So, you’re a playoff team:

The #4 seed out of the North Sound Conference, however they get there, hosts a loser-out playoff game Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7 PM against the #3 seed from the Northwest Conference (likely Lynden Christian).

Win and you advance to a loser-out, winner-to-state game on the road either Nov. 2 or 3 against Cedar Park Christian.


The playoff bracket:


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Coupeville’s Ben Smith snagged his first varsity reception Friday in a loss against Cedar Park Christian. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Put that coffee down. Coffee’s for closers.

If we follow the golden rule thrown down by Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross, the Coupeville High School football team gets no caffeine this morning.

Because, while the Wolves forced and recovered three fumbles Friday in Kirkland, and pulled off several outstanding pass plays, the one thing they couldn’t do was close against host Cedar Park Christian.

Unable to stuff the ball in the end zone, or prevent the Eagles from doing the same, Coupeville fell 42-0, handing CPC the win it needed to clinch the North Sound Conference title.

Win or lose the regular-season finale Oct. 26, Cedar Park (4-0 in league play) will hang the first league championship banner in program history.

And it only took disgraced former Bellevue coach Butch Goncharoff two years to turn his new squad from also-rans to winners.

In the other NSC games played Friday, King’s shredded Sultan 52-13, while South Whidbey held off Granite Falls 19-14.

With one week left in the regular season, King’s (3-1) and South Whidbey (3-1) have also clinched playoff berths, and their game next Friday will decide the league’s #2 and #3 playoff seeds.

The fourth, and final, conference postseason berth is still up for grabs, with Granite Falls (1-3) and Sultan (1-3) tied, a game up on Coupeville (0-4).

If the Wolves, who are 3-5 overall, uphold Senior Night honor Oct. 26 and beat Granite Falls, and Sultan loses against CPC, it would leave all three teams in a deadlock.

For a moment Friday, it looked like Coupeville might be able to hold its own with Cedar Park, even playing on unfamiliar turf and having made its longest road trip of the season.

The Wolves got the ball first, with a strong kickoff return from Shane Losey setting the table.

A couple of ziggy, zaggy runs from Sean Toomey-Stout helped CHS move the ball, and, when they momentarily stalled, they took advantage of an Eagle error.

Coupeville lofted a nice punt, the ball popped free from the Eagle receiver, and Toomey-Stout alertly jumped on the runaway pigskin, helping the Wolves pick up an accidental 30 yards and a new set of downs starting at the CPC 26-yard line.

After both teams exchanged penalties, Wolf QB Dawson Houston dropped a sparkling pass down the left sideline for 12 yards, hitting Toomey-Stout right on the hands and CHS was knocking on heaven’s door.

It wasn’t to be, though, as a botched snap cost Coupeville eight yards, and then the Eagles defense stiffened, knocking away potential pass receptions on back-to-back plays to force a turnover on downs.

At that exact moment, with CPC going under center for the first time, and with the Wolves having carved six and a half minutes off the clock, it looked like the night might be a nail-biter.

The Eagles had other ideas though. Horrifying ideas.

A team known for running suddenly debuted an electrifying pass attack, garnering 46 yards on a long pass play down the middle of the field.

Before Coupeville could recover its composure, CPC sent a runner rambling the final 17 yards needed for the game’s first touchdown.

And, just like that, in two plays, the Eagles accomplished what the Wolves couldn’t get done in an opening drive which went 17 plays.

Proving it wasn’t a fluke, while also conserving energy, Cedar Park used just three plays to score a TD on its next possession, with a long pass, a questionable roughing the passer penalty and a short run combining to cover 39 yards and put CPC up 14-0 after one quarter of play.

The Eagles put the game on ice in the second quarter, with TD passes of 31 and 10 yards, followed by a 56-yard bolt to daylight.

The fifth score stung more than most, as it came one play after Derek Leyva saved a touchdown by chasing down a CPC runner from behind and yanking him down at the one-yard line.

After all that, the play was called back due to a holding call on Cedar Park, which just gave the host team a bit more room to run on the next snap.

Houston moved Coupeville down the field, connecting on big pass plays with Leyva and Toomey-Stout, but both drives stalled out at crunch time, leaving the Wolves with little to show for their efforts.

The first of Leyva’s two catches in the second quarter was especially impressive, as the converted soccer star went airborne, waited until two CPC defenders mashed him, one from each side, then, and only then, pulling in the pass and holding on to it for dear life.

Toomey-Stout added his second fumble recovery right before the half, while Andrew Martin, Dane Lucero and Ryan Labrador anchored the defense, piling up tackles.

But Cedar Park tacked on a final touchdown on the very first play of the third quarter, taking the kickoff to the house to stretch the lead out to its final margin of 42-0.

In the late going, Houston continued to chip away at the defense, taking what little it offered him, with superb passes under pressure to Lucero and Ben Smith.

With a running clock in affect after the third-quarter kickoff return, the second half moved quickly.

Coupeville, which was playing without starters Chris Battaglia, Matt Hilborn, Gavin St Onge, Jake Pease and Xavier Murdy, did its best to put up a fight until the final whistle.

Alex Turner terrorized Cedar Park’s backup ball-carriers, stuffing several running plays, while Leyva recovered his first fumble to cap his best all-around game in his short gridiron career.

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Nick “The Big Hurt” Streubel anchors the line for the nationally-ranked Central Washington University football squad. (Photo courtesy Nanette Streubel)

Brothers CJ (left) and Hunter Smith are trying to earn spots on the Green River College baseball team. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Ally Roberts, and her trusty steed, kick off the college equestrian season next month. (Photo courtesy Roberts)

Once they were Wolves, but now they wear a variety of uniforms.

At least seven Coupeville High School grads are either currently playing college sports, or about to start a new season.

From football to basketball to equestrian sports to baseball and softball, the Cow Town alumni can be found just about anywhere.

And I say “at least seven,” because as soon as I print this story, it’ll turn out I missed someone. Happens every time.

But, at this moment, to the best of my knowledge, and in alphabetic order, here are the former Wolves who are continuing to play on in their sport of choice:


Kailey Kellner:

The former All-Conference hoops player returns to D’Youville College, an NCAA D-III school in New York, for her sophomore campaign.

The first time around, she played in 25 games for the women’s basketball squad, starting in several, averaging 2.3 points and 2.5 rebounds a night.

The Spartans open a new season Nov. 10 against non-conference foe Wells College.


Katrina McGranahan:

The Everett Community College freshman has been battling a nagging quad injury, but played through it as her softball squad went 6-0 in fall ball.

She has been splitting time between manning third-base and pitching, but is expected to mainly play in the field once the regular season begins in the spring.

At the plate, the former CHS Athlete of the Year bashed a string of extra-base hits in fall ball, narrowly missing a home run in her final game.


Ally Roberts:

A standout volleyball spiker in high school, she’s following her primary passion these days, competing in horse sports.

A member of the Western Washington University equestrian team, she will compete in Western gaming when the season starts in Nov.


CJ and Hunter Smith:

The brothers have taken their skills to Auburn, where they are in the final weeks of fall baseball with Green River College.

Both have seen time on the mound and in the infield, and will soon head into winter workouts with the goal of making the hardball squad next spring.

When they’re not fine-tuning their baseball skills, both are on educational paths as well, with CJ studying Criminal Justice and Hunter beginning his journey towards a Physical Therapy degree.


Makana Stone:

Coming off a trip to Brazil as part of a D-III all-star women’s basketball team, the former two-time Olympic League MVP returns for her junior season at Whitman College.

A First-Team All-Conference selection in 2017-2018, she has played in 57 college games across two seasons, pouring in 540 points, snatching 385 boards, doling out 83 assists, pilfering 34 steals and rejecting 18 shots.

As a sophomore, she averaged 12.3 points and 7.2 assists, while receiving multiple honors.

She was the MVP at the “Whitworth Holiday Classic,” made the All-Tournament team at the “Ramada at the Spokane Airport Whit Classic,” and was tabbed as the Northwest Conference Student-Athlete of the Week.

The Blues, who have gone 48-10 since the former Wolf hit campus, open the season Nov. 1 with an exhibition road game at Lewis-Clark State College.

Whitman’s regular-season opener is Nov. 10 against NAIA heavy hitter Eastern Oregon, which went 31-2 a season ago.


Nick Streubel:

The red-shirt junior continues to anchor the line for one of the best football teams in D-II.

Central Washington is 5-2 overall, 5-0 in league play, and carries a 15-game winning streak in conference play dating back to Oct. 2016.

Ranked #21 in the latest national poll, the Wildcats have four regular-season games left, starting with a clash with Simon Fraser Oct. 20.

An All-Conference player during his days at CHS, “The Big Hurt” was an All-Region First-Team selection as Central went undefeated and won a league crown in 2017.

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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.

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