Posts Tagged ‘Alabama’

Cade Golden

A flashback to middle school days in Coupeville. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

One came back.

Back in 2016, Coupeville Middle School football coach Bob Martin had a roster full of talented players.

Then life stepped in, with at least six of those guys departing.

Two chose to attend high school in Oak Harbor, while four left Whidbey Island after family moves.

But now, in a pleasant plot twist, Cade Golden — the big-armed quarterback from that group — is returning to finish his prep career where it began.

After playing three seasons in Alabama, the last two for a school which won back-to-back 7A state titles, he will suit up as a senior for Coupeville High School when the pandemic-shortened season begins March 29.

The move back to The Rock reunites Golden with former CMS teammates such as Ben Smith, Sage Downes, and Dakota Eck.

“I’m extremely excited!!,” Golden said. “I can’t wait to see everyone and get to work.”

After his family returned to its Alabama roots, moving to be closer to relatives, the QB played at several schools, finishing his run there at Thompson High School in Alabaster.

Golden was the backup to Thompson QB Conner Harrell, who threw for 3,400+ yards and 40 touchdowns this season, against just three interceptions.

While he didn’t start for the state champs, Golden’s work ethic and talent (plus a 4.0 GPA) has attracted a fair amount of college heat.

Listed at 6-foot-1 and 180 pounds, he has offers from schools such as LaGrange College, Clarke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Norwich University, Birmingham-Southern, and Sewanee: University of the South.

He also has Preferred Walk-On offers from at least two NCAA D-1 schools, Florida State and Tennessee.

While Golden is excited for the return to Coupeville, the feeling is equaled by his former (and future) teammates.

“With how minimal this season is, it’s great to have him back there,” Ben Smith said. “Especially with how crucial this season goal is, and his work ethic for goals like that is what we need on this team right now.

“I’m happy to have him back and he’s gonna do great things here once again.”

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You should be watching movies like Wrestle, and you can if you take advantage of Kanopy, a free film streaming site offered by your local library.

In an ocean full of movie streaming options, Kanopy is that odd lil’ island tucked off in a far corner of the map.

Most travelers settle for the relatively swanky, easy-to-reach sites like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, or Amazon.

But, for the price of a library card (so … free), Kanopy offers a heady mix of high class and (sometimes very) grimy low class.

The site’s front page marinates in documentaries, foreign films, and art house gems.

Go down the wrong alleyway, however, and you can have a grand old time with scuzzy ’80s slashers like Blood Rage, modern-day gagfests such as The Greasy Strangler, or, and I’m serious here … Cannibal Holocaust.

Yes, your library system offers the official place to stream one of the nastiest horror films to ever be banned in multiple countries, in all its uncut “glory.”

Kanopy … where Akira Kurosawa’s Rashomon shares space with I Drink Your Blood, and where you can create your own wildly mismatched double features, like Charlie Chaplin’s The Gold Rush and Ralph Bakshi’s Coonskin.

All for free.

Your move, Netflix, and you already lost.

As you wander through Kanopy, a lot of big-name classics will catch your eye, but you also want to look out for small gems such as Wrestle.

A 2019 documentary about four grapplers, and their hard knocks coach, it’s set at a failing Alabama high school, and it offers something for everyone.

You don’t have to be a wrestling fan to sink deep into their stories, which offer some hard-earned hope, along with the frequent cold slap of reality.

As in the best sports doc ever crafted, Hoop Dreams, not everyone in Wrestle emerges a winner.

This is real life playing out in front of the cameras, and the student/athletes at J.O. Johnson High School in Huntsville face a myriad of obstacles.

There’s life on the mat, repping a school which gets little respect from the wrestling powerhouses in the region, and is on the list of failing schools in the state.

Then, there’s life at home, which offers its own challenges.

Directors Suzannah Herbert and Lauren Belfer offer an unflinching look at their subjects, not shying away from drug use, teen pregnancy, racial strife, and mental health troubles.

There are no easy answers to some of these problems, and the filmmakers, to their credit, realize this and allow life to play out in all its messy contradictions.

The relatively new team at J.O. Johnson is primarily made up of Black students, while coach Chris Scribner and Teague, one of four featured wrestlers, are white.

Scribner, a teacher who has been clean and sober for 10 years, carved out his own path of destruction in younger days, and has to face the reality he got second (and third and fourth) chances many of his current athletes won’t be given.

He seems to deeply care about his wrestlers, and wants to be a father/big brother figure to them in his own rough-and-tumble way.

At times, Scribner succeeds.

At other times, even those with the best of intentions can misread things or try to force something that’s not meant to be.

Of the four wrestlers we see the most, Jailen and Jaquan both endure run-ins with the police, made more tense by the difference in power held by white cops and young Black men. Even with cameras present.

Jamario, who is about to become a father, struggles with mental health as his relationship crumbles, while Teague, who endured abuse from a now-absent father, begins to spend more time chasing drugs rather than pins.

As the wrestlers and their coach pursue state tourney dreams, and try to find balance in their real lives, they do so in a world where it’s the moms who try and hold things together.

In a film full of moments which punch you in the heart, one in particular stands out, as Jaquan’s mom, with not an ounce of self pity, lays out, in quiet, concrete terms, how her son’s arrest for marijuana possession will upend all of their lives.

Against this backdrop, the positive moments, and there are some big ones near the end, resonate even more.

Things do not end well for all involved, and the fate of the school itself offers a particularly hard dose of reality.

But there are second chances, on the mat, and, more importantly, off of it.

You exit Wrestle, one of the best sports docs I’ve seen during a looooooong career of watching movies, believing in the power of hope and hard work.

It’s a movie to see, on a streaming site to get familiar with.


To take a gander at a whole new world, pop over to:


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Michael Golden

It was a tough decision, but family had to come first.

Michael Golden, who was hired this off-season to be an assistant football coach at Coupeville High School, is not on the field with the Wolves as they plow through the first week of fall practice.

Instead, he, his wife and their two sons, have returned to Alabama.

Golden’s grandparents, and several other family members, have substantial health issues, and as the oldest grandson, he wanted to be a rock for his family.

“It was a difficult decision. All of our family is in Alabama, but it was like we had a family here in Coupeville as well,” Golden said.

“We will return to visit and I hope at some point we’ll back in Coupeville for good.”

After he and his family moved to Whidbey Island last year, Golden worked as an assistant under Bob Martin with the Coupeville Middle School gridiron squad.

With his oldest son, Cade, entering his freshman year of football, Golden was set to jump up a rung alongside him.

“I really like the direction they’re going in,” Golden said. “I like (CHS Athletic Director) Willie (Smith) and the high school staff and Bob has been like a brother to me.”

With the family in Alabama, Cade, the starting QB during his time at Coupeville Middle School, is taking snaps at Pell City High School, his dad’s alma mater.

He’s doing so in weather which is miles away from what the family experienced in Washington state, with 92 degrees and “a lot of humidity” being the order of the day Tuesday in the deep South.

“We miss the Coupeville weather!,” Michael Golden said with a laugh.

Back in Coupeville, the decision of how to fill the open coaching job is still up in the air.

Josh Welshans, who previously helped with the CHS baseball squad, has been working as a volunteer football coach and could be an option.

“We are still deciding,” Wolf head coach Jon Atkins said. “Josh is on staff and his role might expand. The administration and I have been discussing options at this point.”

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