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   Monday marks four weeks until Ulrik Wells and other Wolf basketball players hit the hard-court. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   CHS seniors Lauren Rose (22) and Allison Wenzel (12) are vital parts of a girls hoops program which is 27-0 all-time in varsity Olympic League games.

It’s never too early to think about basketball.

Four weeks from today (Monday, Nov. 13) is the first day of practice for Coupeville High School’s hoop teams, and the first official game is two weeks after that.

On the girls side, David and Amy King return for their sixth season at the helm of the Wolf varsity and JV programs. Meanwhile, the CHS boys program starts anew, with first-year coaches Brad Sherman and Chris Smith.

Coupeville’s girls have won three straight Olympic League crowns, are 27-0 all-time in conference play and went to the state tourney in 2016.

Success has been a little harder to find on the boys side of the ball, where the Wolves haven’t posted a winning season since 2010.

Sherman, who graduated from CHS in 2003, was a key player on the 2001-2002 boys basketball squad, the last to win a league title. He’s the #8 scorer in program history.

And that history is a long one, as the Wolf boys are heading into their 101st season of round-ball play.

Thanks to smart (or lucky) scheduling, Coupeville hosts Chimacum Jan. 19, 2018, the anniversary of the first basketball game in school history.

Back then, CHS drilled Langley 29-7 on Jan. 19, 1917.

The Wolf girls program hasn’t been around as long — this will be its 44th season — but owns all three state banners (6th in 2002, 8th in 2003 and 8th in 2005) won by a Coupeville basketball team.

As you count down the days until hoops mania reigns supreme, a fairly concrete look at the 2017-2018 schedules is below.

Things may change a bit, due to weather, ferry issues or the whims of fate, so keep an eye on these two sites for updates as we go forward:

Coupeville Schools — http://coupeville.tandem.co/

Olympic League — http://www.olympicleague.com/

League games are identified with an asterisk. Start times are JV first, varsity second.

GIRLS:

Mon-Nov. 27 – @ Bellingham (5:30/7:00)
Wed-Nov. 29 – Blaine (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 1 – Mount Vernon Christian (7:00/5:15)
Wed-Dec. 6 – @Klahowya* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 8 – Sequim (3:30/5:15)
Sat-Dec. 9 – @South Whidbey (6:45/5:00)
Tues-Dec. 12 – @Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Sat-Dec. 16 – Bellevue Christian (4:45/4:45)
Wed-Dec. 20 – Concrete (7:00/5:15)
Fri-Dec. 29 – Orcas Island (TBD)
Wed-Jan. 3 – @Chimacum* (4:30/6:00)
Fri-Jan. 5 – @North Mason (3:45/5:30)
Tue-Jan. 9 – Port Townsend* (5:15/5:15)
Sat-Jan. 13 – @Meridian (5:45/7:15)
Tue-Jan. 16 – Klahowya* (5:15/3:30)
Fri-Jan. 19 – @Chimacum* (5:15/6:00)
Fri-Jan. 26 – Port Townsend* (3:30/5:15)
Tues-Jan. 30 – @Sequim (5:15/3:30)
Thur-Feb. 1 – @Klahowya* (5:15/3:45)
Sat-Feb. 3 – Chimacum* (3:30/5:15) SENIOR NIGHT

BOYS:

Wed-Nov. 29 – @ Blaine (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 1 – Mount Vernon Christian (5:15/7:00)
Wed-Dec. 6 – Klahowya* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 8 – Sequim (5:15/3:30)
Sat-Dec. 9 – @South Whidbey (5:00/6:45)
Tues-Dec. 12 – Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 15 – @Vashon Island (4:30/6:00)
Sat-Dec. 16 – Bellevue Christian (4:45/3:00)
Wed-Dec. 20 – Concrete (no JV/7:00)
Fri-Dec. 29 – Orcas Island (TBD)
Wed-Jan. 3 – Chimacum* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Jan. 5 – North Mason (5:15/7:00)
Tue-Jan. 9 – @Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Sat-Jan. 13 – @Sultan (5:00/6:45)
Tue-Jan. 16 – @Klahowya* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Jan. 19 – Chimacum* (5:15/7:00)
Fri-Jan. 26 – @Port Townsend* (5:15/7:00)
Tues-Jan. 30 – @Sequim (3:30/TBD)
Thur-Feb. 1 – Klahowya* (5:15/7:00) SENIOR NIGHT
Sat-Feb. 3 – @Chimacum* (5:15/7:00)

   Lindsey Roberts and her Coupeville High School soccer teammates sit at 4-1 in league play. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

   Wolf seniors Hunter Downes (3) and Hunter Smith have been a potent pass-and-catch duo.

   With help from big play from Jakobi Baumann, CHS tennis has won five of its last six matches.

   Wolf volleyball coaches (l to r) Cory Whitmore, Chris Smith and Ashley Herndon have their squad hot on the trail of back-to-back league titles.

The week ahead is … the biggest week ever!!

Well, maybe not, but the schedule does present Coupeville with a chance to make a solid splash in the league standings, and largely at the expense of their top rival.

Wolf volleyball and soccer travel to Klahowya Tuesday and welcome Port Townsend to town Thursday, while CHS football hosts Klahowya Friday.

Sweep both volleyball matches and Coupeville moves within a whisker of clinching its second-straight spiker league title.

Of course, on the flip side, if the Eagles win Tuesday’s soccer match — and they’ve won 26 consecutive league bouts — the booter conference title officially stays in Klahowya for the fourth straight year.

So, win some, lose some. Potentially.

You never know what will happen, though, as last week showed when Chimacum soccer knocked off Port Townsend, earning the Cowboys their first win of the season, followed by a Friday the 13th shocker on the gridiron.

That came courtesy Klahowya, which used a 99-yard pick-six to unseat unbeaten PT 7-6.

So, my best advice — realize just about anything can happen and stay tuned.

League standings through Oct. 15:

Olympic/Nisqually League football:

School League Overall
Cascade Christian 4-0 6-1
Charles Wright 3-1 5-2
Port Townsend 3-1 3-4
Bellevue Christian 2-2 2-5
Klahowya 2-2 2-5
COUPEVILLE 1-3 3-4
Vashon Island 1-3 1-6
Chimacum 0-4 2-5

Olympic League volleyball:

School League Overall
COUPEVILLE 4-0 7-2
Klahowya 4-1 5-5
Port Townsend 1-4 2-8
Chimacum 1-5 1-7

Olympic League girls soccer:

School League Overall
Klahowya 6-0 11-1
COUPEVILLE 4-1 6-6
Port Townsend 1-5 2-9
Chimacum 1-6 1-8-1

Olympic League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Klahowya 4-1 12-2
COUPEVILLE 4-2 6-6
Chimacum 0-5 0-11

   Coupeville High School senior princess Mckenzie Meyer, the pride of Videoville. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The senior court for Homecoming practices their runway poses.

Payton Aparicio and Hunter Smith lead the parade.

   Senior princess Lauren Bayne gets love from soccer mates Lindsey Roberts (left) and Sage Renninger.

Videoville’s legacy lives on.

My home away from home for 13 years may be no more (psst … not too late for someone to bring it back and start paying me to watch movies again), but its alumni are still making news.

When Coupeville High School announced its 2017 Homecoming royalty Friday, two of the honorees had a connection back to video store life.

Senior princess Mckenzie Meyer is the granddaughter of my former bosses, Frank and Miriam Meyer.

And freshman princess Aria Bowen, though she might have forgotten about it at this point, used to hang out with me behind the video counter as a baby while mom Dea made drinks at Miriam’s Espresso.

The other royalty might not have that Videoville connection, but I guess we can mention their names here as well…

2017 CHS Homecoming royalty:

Queen:

Payton Aparicio

King:

Hunter Smith

Senior Prince and Princesses:

Lauren Bayne
Mckenzie Meyer
William Nelson
Lauren Rose
Cameron Toomey-Stout
Julian Welling

Junior Court:

Madison Krieg
Josh Robinson

Sophomore Court:

Jered Brown
Mica Shipley

Freshman Court:

Aria Bowen
Michael Laska

Duke and Duchess:

Chad Felgar
Ariana Nielsen

   Hunkered down on its own goal line, Coupeville’s defense makes a stand. (David Stern photos)

Wolf ball boys pause for the national anthem.

Ready to rumble.

A well-dressed Wolf player suits up for Breast Cancer Awareness month.

James Vidoni lingers in the light of the scoreboard.

   Friday was easily the chilliest game of the year, as evidenced by the puffs of breath issuing from under face masks.

   As Matt Hilborn sets up to kick-off, the ref asks him not to belt it too far. “Dude, I’m too tired to run right now…”

   Wolf QB Hunter Downes (3) sprints towards the skeleton of Coupeville’s new grandstands during player introductions.

It had been awhile.

After two straight road games, and four of the first six being played away from Coupeville, the Wolf football team returned to kick off a three-game home stand on a very chilly Friday the 13th.

Local photographer David Stern worked the sidelines as CHS clashed with Bellevue Christian, and the photos above are courtesy him.

Red Zone of horrors!!

   Shane Losey played a strong defensive game Friday, including blocking a Bellevue Christian PAT kick. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Where’s Marshawn Lynch when you need him?

An inability to get one yard, twice, killed the Coupeville High School football team on a very chilly Friday the 13th.

Unable to punch the ball in during the second half, despite having first-and-goal from the one-yard line on their opening drive, then third-and-goal from the one on their next possession, the Wolves fell 24-12 to visiting Bellevue Christian.

The Homecoming loss drops CHS to 1-3 in league play, 3-4 overall.

It also adds a new layer of frustration for Coupeville coach Jon Atkins, who has seen his team decimated by injuries which have thrown a wrench into a season which started quite strongly.

Hunter Smith and Sean Toomey-Stout, the team’s leading receiver and rusher, both went down for the season back in week five, and that has limited the Wolves offensive attack since.

Still, Chris Battaglia and Andrew Martin ran strongly Friday, battering through the BC defense — until Battaglia went down with his own foot injury.

While he was able to return late in the game, Battaglia’s absence was huge, as he had carried the ball on four of the previous five plays, tearing off chunks of yardage on the opening drive of the third quarter.

With #23 being attended to on the sideline, the Wolves went to #32, and Martin crushed it, ramming up the middle for nine, six and 22 yards on the next three plays.

The third run came up a single yard short of a touchdown, as a horde of Vikings finally rode Martin to the turf just outside the goal line.

Trailing 16-12 coming out of halftime, CHS seemed poised to regain the lead, sitting on a first-and-goal, with the end zone tantalizingly close.

Only it didn’t happen, as the Wolves started marching straight backwards, with two aborted runs and a holding penalty turning a first-and-goal on the one into a third-and-goal from the 15.

After 10 straight running plays to open the second half, CHS went to the air, only to have back-to-back Hunter Downes passes batted down by defenders at the last second.

Coupeville’s second half death march continued from there, with BC putting together a 16-play, 85-yard scoring drive to bust open the game, followed by the Wolves suffering another disaster at the goal line.

It started with a first-and-goal from the Viking four-yard line, after CHS used a mix of Martin power runs and three Downes to Cameron Toomey-Stout passes to move 70 yards.

In the open field, the Wolves were moving, churning their way to glory. Up close, however, they stalled out.

Three incomplete passes and a run stuffed at the line later, any hopes of a comeback win were gone, and all Atkins could do was shake his head in frustration.

“Two Red Zone scores, we punch those in, we win,” he said. “We have 1,000 pounds on the line. We have to learn to push forward and be a little more nasty. We have to learn how to move that ball.”

Coupeville’s scoring came in the second quarter, as the two teams combined for 25 of the game’s 36 points and changed leads several times.

Bellevue kicker Mark Postma had staked his squad to an early 3-0 lead with a 25-yard field goal hit with enough foot to probably clear from 45 out.

After coming up empty on its first four possessions, Coupeville finally broke through, taking advantage of a fumble recovery deep in Viking territory.

Downes, rolling out at the BC 19-yard line, dropped the ball into the left corner, where Toomey-Stout made a sensational catch, dancing like he was back on the ballet stage he once graced in a production of “The Nutcracker.”

A blind ref shanked Wolf fans by claiming Camtastic had been knocked out at the half-yard line, but Coupeville shook it off with ease.

On the very next snap Toomey-Stout went the opposite way, curling into the right corner, and Downes deposited the ball on his waiting fingertips.

The touchdown toss was the 30th all-time for the senior gunslinger, pulling him within three of Brad Sherman’s CHS career record.

Downes also continued his pursuit of Sherman’s career record for passing yardage (3,613), cracking the 3,000-yard barrier on a 24-yard screen pass to Battaglia late in the first half.

While Toomey-Stout’s touchdown put Coupeville up 6-3, the Wolves PAT was blocked, then the teams exchanged scores in record time.

Bellevue bashed the ball in from three yards out to regain the lead at 10-6, only to watch Matt Hilborn take the ensuing kickoff all the way back.

The Wolf junior plucked the ball out of the air at the 15-yard line, spun into a pack of Viking tacklers, then somehow broke free, did several pirouettes, found a surprise gap in the defense and was off to the races.

Hugging the left sideline, he roared 85 yards to pay-dirt and wham, bam, Coupeville had the lead back as fast as it had lost it.

The Wolves couldn’t keep it, though, with a failed conversion pass limiting them to a 12-10 lead, which vanished right before the half on another short BC touchdown run.

Coupeville saved at least one point when Shane Losey blew through the line and blocked Bellevue’s extra point try. That kept the halftime deficit to what, at the time, seemed like a very manageable 16-12 tally.

Martin, a sophomore wearing the same number #32 his older brother Jacob did before him, had an especially strong game, plucking his first interception of the season.

He also rumbled for 67 yards (unofficially) as a rusher, all in the second half.