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Posts Tagged ‘Ben Smith’

During his two seasons as a CHS football player, Gabe Shaw, Jr. developed into a top player on both sides of the ball. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

His dad, Wolf football coach Gabe, Sr., nabs a post-game pic with Sean and Maya Toomey-Stout. (Beth Stout photo)

Coupeville High School assistant football coach Gabe Shaw, Sr. is leaving Whidbey, as he and his family head to Florida.

Before Shaw, wife Rosmond, and sons Gabe, Jr., and Ben depart Cow Town, CHS junior Ben Smith had a few things he wanted to say.

Gabe. I gotta be real, when I first saw him in 7th grade playing, he looked like an endangered hippopotamus.

The amount of growth and maturity that this kid obtained over the years since he started playing this sport is amazing.

People really don’t see the good sides of football and they may see it as a dangerous sport.

But people like Gabe are a great example of what becoming a guy of character, integrity, and an upmost respectful kid you can be, made of doing these things with the bonding of the team and learning the game like he and everyone else did.

Gabe was always a hard worker, on and off the field.

One of the smartest kids I know.

The amount of effort he puts into anything when you speak about anyone else on the team is hard to match it up evenly with a lot of us.

Everyone works hard, but he has a different work ethic like everyone else and he strived to become better every single chance he got.

I saw him once as a boulder with no dirt on his shoulder to becoming one of the most powerful and furious lineman Coupeville has had.

I’m serious; he literally grabbed ahold of me inside of a crowd of 22 kids and tossed me eight yards forward.

Seen him literally pull a car.

Gabe was a real good friend and one of the greatest teammates I’ve had the pleasure of playing with; its gonna be a real loss to the team losing him and I’m gonna miss him dearly and I know he’s gonna do great things in Florida.

 

Coach Shaw.

He’s one of the most intelligent human beings I know.

A lot of coaches can be there as a guy who teaches you football and tries to win you championships; he did more than that.

I learned a lot about myself and got a better view on life listening to him; and everything he ever spoke to me, whether it was about football or life, I really understood it.

Was always willing to kick my ass to make me a better player and always was accepting of anyone.

There was definitely times I wish he didn’t have the pleasure of attempting to run me into the ground.

Go to the gym and go lift with him and you’ll be begging to smack any kind of taste that old man has left on his tongue. WORST decision I ever made.

In all seriousness, he loved making people great and as much as he loved coaching, it made him happier to see people succeed from when they’re at their absolute lowest or struggling.

Always believed in me and anyone else and I’m gonna miss his great attitude and everything he did for us.

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Ben Smith hauls in a pass during a practice. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith rumbles for yardage during a game at Kittitas last season.

Smith and departing senior Sean Toomey-Stout embrace after Coupeville’s final game. The Wolves finished 5-4, the program’s first winning record since 2005. (Deb Smith photo)

With Washington state schools closed down for at least six weeks due to the spread of coronavirus, we’re offering all Coupeville students a chance to be heard and stay connected.

Ben Smith is currently a junior at CHS.

With any school, football is probably the most exciting sport for anyone to go to or watch despite the team’s level of performance, but for the past few years that hasn’t been the case with our school.

Everyone has been doubting, and looking down on our program like we’re floating half-dead in the water.

Clearly getting a winning season wasn’t enough for everyone to open their eyes and see what our program has turned into.

I’m tired of all these fools who wanna try saying our team is this and that and we’re “garbage” when all these people could be on that field playing, but they’re not.

So all these people sitting back being talkers are the ones who have no remorse for team or community and only care about trophies and don’t look at the little things.

Over 50% of our team last season was made of FRESHMEN and we still came out positive on the season and some of those freshmen even started.

When do you ever see that many freshman starting on a varsity team?

People don’t see the talent in all these younger guys coming up; most choose not to have faith in them and worry about the big age group.

As little or big as they can be, I will always have faith and protect the guy next to me.

This year you WILL see Coupeville Football in the postseason. There’s NO way around it.

I’m doing my job like everyone else should be as well, being in that weight room, staying on top of my stuff; I’m even going to three camps before damn spring ball.

By my own freshman year, I lost a lot of love for football and before that I was a little boy loving the game so much and I was about to just give it up.

When Coach Marcus (Carr), and all these guys came around, we were doing something really no other coach has ever constantly been on you for, weight room, grades, camp, food, everything a football player should be taking care of.

This didn’t get serious until coach KB (Kwamane Bowens) started talking to me about college.

I have never wanted to ever go to college, even just to go play football.

With how far I was getting with these guys, I realized it’s much more than the effort you put in, it’s the guys around you who are meant to be there for you, who show you moral support, who are your mentors.

Without any of that, you’re all in this on your own.

I wanna finish my senior year with a statement, 30 years without a conference championship … that’s gonna change and people can laugh at me as much as they want or say it’s the same thing we say every year.

I’m setting my foot down and putting this out for the whole world to hear.

Not for one second I doubt any of my team.

If I gotta brawl for any of these guys, you know I’ll do anything to protect them from having their season ruined like mine was.

We need them stands PACKED every Friday night, people are gonna remember this and when it happens, they’re gonna keep coming to our games after this year is done.

It’s all cause of our coaches, our commitment of our players who before school was shut down came in every day at 6:30 AM to lift weights every other day, after school, running routes in the gym.

These are the guys who are gonna make a change to the program.

If you one of these guys doubting our program and you ain’t even on that field. Stop it right now!

You wouldn’t have an ounce of care to step on that field and do what not a lot of people would wanna do and put their bodies on the line.

Your opinion is irrelevant, as well as last season, a winning season ain’t gonna be enough to keep the hype alive, so a conference championship it is.

The only opinions that matter are the people who continue to believe in us.

People are gonna remember the times they doubted us, what I said and they’re gonna try and act like they’ve been with us this whole time.

They’re nothing but sleepers who been sleeping on us.

We will be conference champions this year.

NO WAY AROUND IT.

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Ben Smith scored seven points and delivered a pair of knee-shaking blocks on his birthday. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

A storm battered Coupeville Thursday night.

Or at least the Storm did, as in the freshman boys basketball team from 3A Squalicum, which bopped the Coupeville C-Team 50-20.

But while the Wolves, playing their season opener, fell to their big-school foes, they played with heart and passion.

Even trailing big late, Coupeville’s players and fans, especially the Wolf varsity guys in the stands, exploded when Ben Smith dropped the hammer o’ death on a runaway Squalicum player.

Taking the court on his 17th birthday, Smith wiped the boards clean and delivered a pair of ferocious blocked shots.

The bigger of the pair came late in the fourth quarter, as he scrambled back to stem the incoming tide.

Squalicum had a big advantage in numbers, was out on the break, and looking to poster-ize the Wolves.

The Storm players, while talented, got a little fast and crazy near the end, trying to pull off NBA-worthy plays, and one would-be superstar paid the price as he roared in for his closeup.

Instead of throwing down the running layup, Squalicum’s shooter had the ball soundly rejected, as Smith rose up to the heavens above and spiked the ball like Wolf legend Maya Toomey-Stout delivering a kill on the volleyball court.

The shot went up, the shot came down three times as fast, bouncing off the Storm player’s body with a bang as it did, and the crowd in the CMS gym went bonkers.

It was an emphatic rejection, a pure hustle play, and one fans, players, and even rival coaches and refs could appreciate.

The block was also Exhibit A in the Wolves display of grit and fight, with Coupeville holding its own in the second and fourth quarter.

Take just those two frames and the game would have been a nail-biter, with Squalicum clinging to a 14-13 lead.

But we also have to add in the first quarter — a fast-paced 21-3 surge for the Storm — and the third, when the visitors rolled out to a 15-4 advantage.

Coupeville’s C-Team roster is mostly young and fairly inexperienced, and the Wolves played like it.

At times, such as when they closed the first half on a 7-2 run, then opened the third quarter with a 4-2 mini-surge, everything was clicking.

Other times not so much, as when they gave up runs of 17-0 and 16-0 at different points of the game.

Still, the positives outnumbered the negatives, and new head coach Patrick Upchurch, making his debut in the first seat, came away pleased with his team’s hustle and desire.

One player who drew a special bit of praise from the coach was freshman Ty Hamilton, who shared the ball-handling duties with fellow frosh Dominic Coffman.

Ty had great effort, driving to the basket, and taking control of things for us,” Upchurch said. “Very good start for him and the rest of the guys.”

Coupeville’s first bucket of the C-Team season came courtesy Coen Killian, who came flying through the paint and dropped in a runner to knot the game up at 2-2.

The Wolf offense couldn’t buy a bucket after that for a very long time, however, but not for lack of trying.

Coupeville shots rolled around, dipped and darted, and found creative ways to pop back out of the net as Squalicum used a 26-1 run to assure themselves of the victory.

Hamilton finally stopped the carnage, when he shot up the gut and banked home a shot with about two minutes left in the second quarter.

After that, it was Coffman’s turn to get deadly, as he closed the first half with back-to-back buckets.

“The Dominator” swished a sweet jumper, set up by Smith leaping high to intercept a pass and kick off a fast break, then calmly netted a three-ball with a hand in his face.

Smith gave his fans a birthday present with his strong play on both ends of the floor in the second half, throwing down six points with a pair of free throws, a breakaway layup, and a jumper from the side.

And we have to give Squalicum credit for one of the best buckets we’ll probably see all season, at any level.

Running full tilt towards his bench, a lanky Storm player went airborne, snagged the runaway ball, and flung it backwards over his head.

It was a desperate bid just to keep the play alive, and yet it worked 10,000 times better than expected.

The heave left the Squalicum player’s fingertips right before he crashed out of bounds, and, defying the odds and possibly a few rules of science, cut a path through the outstretched arms of at least three Wolf defenders.

Landing right in the waiting hands of the most surprised Storm player on the floor, who immediately flipped the ball up for a layup, it turned out to be a miracle assist worthy of an in-his-prime John Stockton.

If he had suddenly gotten superpowers.

Coupeville, which will get right back at it Friday when the Wolf C-Team plays Concrete’s JV in a home game, was led Thursday by Smith and Coffman, who tallied seven points apiece.

Hamilton banked in four, Killian netted a bucket, and the Wolves got strong support work from Brayden Coatney, Josh Upchurch, Nick Armstrong, Simon Shelley, and Jaden Goodrich.

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Gabe Shaw and the Coupeville defense came up big Friday night in a 13-0 win over La Conner. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sean Toomey-Stout (1), seen in an earlier game, blew up fools on defense, while also scoring a touchdown off of a 35-yard catch-and-run. (Stephanie Martin photo)

It wasn’t pretty, but they’ll take it.

Despite having three touchdowns waved off because of penalties Friday, the Coupeville High School football team was able to lean on a suffocating defense and blank visiting La Conner 13-0.

The victory brings the Wolves back to .500 at 2-2 on the season, heading into a long road trip to Kittitas next Saturday, Oct. 5.

Friday night’s game, played against one of Coupeville’s longest-running rivals, was the kind which looks great on the scoreboard and maybe not as much when it comes time for players and coaches to look at game film.

The Wolves shot themselves in the foot numerous times, racking up a ton of penalties, which ultimately could have hurt a lot worse than they did.

Twice Coupeville captain Sean Toomey-Stout took punt returns to the house, only to have penalties on his teammates negate his game-busting plays.

The first time, “The Torpedo” exploded for 55 yards down the left sideline in the first quarter.

Jump forward to late in the third, and La Conner, apparently having not gotten the memo not to kick to Toomey-Stout, watched as he snatched up a bouncing punt and slashed through the defense, ending a 60-yard plus romp in the end zone.

Only to have to walk the ball back down the field once again, passing a virtual sea of flags thrown at his blockers.

Another penalty on Coupeville would momentarily eject the Wolves from the end zone for a third time in the fourth quarter, but this time the hometown team made it right back in, thanks to a two-yard plunge by Ben Smith.

That score, followed by a Daylon Houston PAT, came with a hair over five minutes left in the game, and stretched a 6-0 nail-biter into a much more comfortable 13-0 romp.

It also capped a strong performance for Smith, who was Coupeville’s workhorse on this misty night.

Running hard, legs driving all night long, the Wolf junior finished with an unofficial total of 81 yards on 18 carries, capping things with his first varsity touchdown.

Smith also had his moments on defense, including a key tackle on the first possession of the game, blasting the Braves ball-carrier and forcing the first of five La Conner punts.

Coupeville took immediate advantage, scoring the only touchdown it would need two plays later.

Taking over at the La Conner 30-yard line, the Wolves picked up a false start penalty on their first offensive play — a hint of things to come — then made some magic.

Sprinting away from a would-be tackler, senior quarterback Dawson Houston threw across his body on the move, dropping a sweet pass down the left sideline, right between Toomey-Stout and the world’s most over-matched defensive back.

Toomey-Stout spun into the air like a muscular ballerina, snatched the ball off the top of his defender’s helmet, landed, and two or three large strides later, was relaxing in the end zone with the prettiest touchdown of the season.

It was a stab right through the heart, and not even a muffed snap on the extra point could dampen the enthusiastic response of the Wolf faithful.

Up 6-0 with 6:56 left in the first quarter, Coupeville looked ready to exchange big offensive punches if necessary.

It wouldn’t need to, though, as the Wolf defense basically shut down any and everything La Conner’s offense might have been planning.

Swarming to the ball, and winning the battle on the line, Coupeville’s defense looked the best it has all season, stuffing Braves runners and batting down La Conner passes.

The visitors had six possessions in the first half. Four ended in punts, the other two in a failure to convert on fourth down.

Those two possessions both ended on passes which hit the ground, but played out differently.

On the first one, La Conner’s quarterback, facing fourth-and-seven from the Coupeville 22-yard line, had a man open but flat-out missed him.

Next possession, the Braves gunslinger was rattled on third down when Alex Jimenez and Gavin Straub blew through the line to team on a bone-crunching sack, then put up a weak lob on fourth down which had little hope of success.

After its opening touchdown toss, Coupeville wasn’t exactly tearing up the field on offense, either.

The Wolves punted three times in the first half, one fewer than La Conner, and had another drive end on a misfired fourth-down pass.

Neither offense went nuclear in the second half, but the Wolves got the yards they needed with Smith and Andrew Martin carrying the rushing load, while the Braves stalled out time and again.

La Conner needed just a single yard for a first down early in the third quarter, only to have Toomey-Stout get out the big paddle.

Shedding two would-be blockers, he blasted through a teeny-tiny hole, stepped up into the face of an oncoming Braves rusher and dropped him with a resounding thud.

That set the Wolf student section jumpin’, and the stadium at Mickey Clark Field to bouncin’, which brought a huge grin to the face of CHS Athletic Director/PA announcer Willie Smith.

“Bout time!,” the man with the velvet fog voice declared.

It wasn’t the last time the defense would inspire the Wolf fans, as Coupeville collected two fumbles and an interception in the game’s final 14 minutes.

The first fumble was snatched up by Dakota Eck, making his season debut after overcoming a nasty preseason arm injury.

The second ball to pop free did so into a seething mass of Wolf defenders, making it hard at first to tell who snatched up the wayward football.

After the crowds had parted, however, CHS freshman Scott Hilborn was the last man holding on to the ball, continuing a strong start to his promising prep career.

After a game where the teams combined for approximately 2,367 penalties, Coupeville closed the night with five minutes of perfection.

Sage Downes, patrolling deep, picked off a La Conner pass to blunt the Braves final offensive chance, then the Wolves handed the ball to Martin four straight times to end things.

Ramming straight up the gut against a defense which had no desire to amass any more bruises, Martin kept the clock (and the chains) moving, tearing off yardage and sending the fans home happy.

With the win, the CHS Class of 2020 finishes 3-1 against La Conner, having rebounded from a 53-6 loss as freshmen to beat the Braves 40-6, 33-12, and 13-0 the last three seasons.

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Ben Smith had an interception and a fumble recovery Friday night, though the reffing crew only upheld one. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Freshman Scott Hilborn (with ball), seen here in an earlier game, had two receptions Friday for 46 yards. (Stephanie Martin photo)

The refs were bad, often ridiculously so, that is true.

But they’re not the reason the Coupeville High School football team lost Friday night.

Give Friday Harbor some credit. They dictated play on both sides of the ball, abusing the Wolf defense and largely muffling its offense.

You don’t win 53-7, as the host Wolverines did, simply because the refs lost their rule book, their seeing-eye dogs, and their ability to form coherent thoughts.

Though that certainly doesn’t help.

However you cut it, Coupeville took a beating — often physically, as several key players were bruised and battered — and the Wolves will need to have short memories as they return home for a match-up next week with La Conner.

Now 1-2 during a season when all their games will be non-conference ones, CHS is not going to enjoy watching the game film from this jaunt to the far-flung San Juan Islands.

Friday Harbor rarely threw a pass, content to run, run some more, than keep on ramming the ball right through the heart of the Coupeville defense.

Four different Wolverine players hit pay-dirt with a rushing touchdown, with juniors Kyson Jackson (3) and Kaden Ritchie (2) combining to score the first five.

Toss in late scoring runs for Connor Haines and Mateo Blackmon, packaged around a defensive touchdown off a fumble recovery brought back 50+ yards, and Friday Harbor had little trouble scoring.

The hometown cheerleaders, who did push-ups for every point scored, got their own workout and may be as sore as Coupeville’s defenders are likely to be after the mauling.

There was a moment, very brief, when it appeared it might be a close game.

Down two scores, CHS found new life on offense and drove 62 yards in six plays for its lone score, cutting the margin to 14-7 with almost four minutes left in the first quarter.

The turnaround came thanks to a couple of precision passes from senior Wolf quarterback Dawson Houston, who hit three different receivers on the drive.

He opened with a slick pass to freshman Scott Hilborn, who made a sweet cutback on the ensuing run to shed several would-be tacklers en route to a 25-yard pick-up.

A catch over the middle by Sean Toomey-Stout picked up 19 more yards, before one of the few penalties called on Friday Harbor shoved Coupeville all the way down to the eight-yard line.

Houston pegged a ball to Gavin Knoblich, and the long ‘n lanky receiver reached behind himself while on the move to make a fairly sensational one-handed snag on the ball.

It was the third touchdown reception this season for the senior, and Coupeville was especially hurt later in the game when Knoblich went to the sideline after having his bell rung.

He never re-entered, and his absence put a huge crimp in the Wolf passing attack.

In the moment, after celebrating Knoblich’s catch, CHS added the extra point thank to a booming PAT kick off the foot of freshman Daylon Houston, and it looked like a back-and-forth affair might break out.

That was quickly squashed, however, as Friday Harbor scored the game’s final 39 points across the second and third quarters.

A short TD run by Ritchie pushed the deficit out to 20-7, and then the refs completely whiffed on a call which turned out to be a killer.

Unable to get its own offense moving downfield, Coupeville was forced to punt, and watched in horror as the kick was blocked.

That’s when things got weird.

As the ball came back down, a Friday Harbor player snatched it up out of mid-air, was hit and fumbled the ball, which was then recovered by Coupeville’s Ben Smith.

But, after a meeting of the “minds” by the reffing crew, Friday Harbor was handed the ball to the consternation of the Wolf coaches.

It wasn’t the most-livid the CHS staff would be – that came later, when Hilborn was decked on a blatant helmet-to-helmet shot while the entire reffing crew swallowed its whistles.

Until 15 seconds after the play was finished, when they handed out a penalty … to the Coupeville bench for protesting too much about the fact their freshman running back had just had his head ripped off on an illegal hit.

But while the refs certainly gave no favors to the Wolves, Friday Harbor does what Friday Harbor does – play hard every snap, hit ferociously on defense and pound away on offense.

Given the ball, they rammed it down the field, and there was little Coupeville could do on this night to stop the Wolverines.

When you collect less than 100 yards on offense as a team, while the other squad rips off 10 and 12-yard rambles on almost every run, you’re very, very likely to lose.

After Coupeville’s lone scoring drive, the Wolves only collected a handful of highlights.

Smith, bouncing back from having the fumble recovery taken away from him, pulled off his first high school interception, picking off a super-rare Friday Harbor pass right before halftime.

The Wolves also showed a nice bit of grit as a running clock blew out the fourth quarter.

For the one and only time in the game, Coupeville held Friday Harbor, forcing a turnover on downs, and they did it by stopping not a JV runner, but by stepping up and rejecting Ritchie as he tried to blast over the middle.

Wolf senior Andrew Martin, who gutted out a strong defensive effort in the trenches while battling through a variety of bumps, dinged knees and swollen hands, led the stand, body-slamming the Friday Harbor runner to the ground to end the drive.

Houston, who also delivered several long punts, completed five passes for 79 yards, accounting for virtually all of Coupeville’s offense, with Hilborn (2-46), Toomey-Stout (2-25), and Knoblich (1-8) his targets.

Martin was the top rusher, with 19 hard-earned yards against a Friday Harbor defense which offered few holes.

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