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Ben Smith rushed for two touchdowns and picked off a pair of passes Saturday as Coupeville football closed its season with a 29-0 win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They saved their best offensive show for the finale.

Scoring a season-high four touchdowns Saturday, while also collecting their third shutout on defense, the Coupeville High School football team blasted visiting Concrete 29-0.

The win over their Northwest 2B/1B League foe gave a great sendoff to the team’s four seniors — who scored all the TD’s — while also clinching a second-straight winning season for the Wolf gridiron program.

Finishing 3-2 in a pandemic-shortened season, this year’s CHS squad follows on the heels of the 2019 group, which went 5-4.

While back-to-back campaigns in which they won one more game than they lost doesn’t guarantee any state title banners will be hung any time soon, it is a huge step forward for a program which didn’t have a winning season between 2006-2018.

Wolf coach Marcus Carr, who has been at the helm for three seasons now, paid tribute to seniors Alex Jimenez, Sage Downes, Dakota Eck, and Ben Smith for their contributions to the rebuilding.

“Very happy with the way the guys played this season,” Carr said. “Our seniors shined tonight and they set the tone for us all year.”

Seniors (l to r) Sage Downes, Smith, Dakota Eck, and Alex Jimenez spend the final moments of their prep careers with coach Marcus Carr. (Jackie Saia photo)

That four-pack of 12th graders made an impact right from the start Saturday night.

Playing in front of their home fans for the first time in a month, they forced three-and-out sequences the first two times Concrete touched the ball.

Jimenez came crashing through the line on a fourth-and-four to drag down a ball-carrier short of the line on the opening “drive,” and the mood was set.

While Coupeville’s defense has been strong all season, its offense has taken its sweet time about scoring most games.

Not so against Concrete, as the Wolves busted off a march to the promised land midway through the first quarter.

Freshman quarterback Logan Downes hit Jimenez and Daylon Houston with quicksilver passes, wrapped around a strong run up the middle by Smith.

That loosened up the Concrete defense, and Smith promptly took advantage, bursting through a mass of would-be tacklers, then outrunning the Lions to the end zone on a 20-yard scoring tear.

While the PAT refused to be converted, it didn’t really matter as the Wolves continued to jump all over their foes.

Smith pilfered a Lions pass on the next possession, his first of two picks, which set up a unique scoring play.

Getting one year together on the high school football field, the second and third of Angie Downes three sons made it count, hooking up on a 28-yard touchdown pass.

Logan, the confident young gun, lofted a pass from right to left, the ball dropping out of the sky right onto the fingertips of moderately-old Sage, who strolled in for the score.

Somewhere, Hunter, their now very-old (relatively speaking) older brother, who still holds some Coupeville QB records, probably nodded and said to anyone in ear shot, “You realize I taught them everything about football.”

Houston knocked the extra point through the goalposts, then returned shortly thereafter to do the same again, this time after Smith bolted in for a score from nine yards out early in the second quarter.

Up 20-0 at the halftime break — that time when PA announcer Willie Smith and clock operator Joel Norris go cookie-hunting — the Wolves coasted in from there, relying on a series of big defensive plays to keep Concrete at bay.

Jimenez spent much of the night harassing anyone in a Lions uniform who dared to come close to the ball, the same as Isaiah Bittner and Josh Upchurch, while Sage Downes and Scott Hilborn picked off passes.

Smith snagged his second INT, this one on an eye-popping play where he hauled in the ball with one hand while tip-toeing down the sideline, just barely staying in play.

Tim Ursu busted off a nice run to keep the Concrete defense honest, but it was Eck who tore off a 46-yard run to the end zone in the fourth quarter for the season’s final touchdown.

Before that, Houston showed off the power of his big kicking leg, absolutely crushing a 26-yard field goal.

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Jaimee Masters and her fellow Coupeville volleyball seniors are having a tough time getting their customary celebration. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“I feel like we are in an episode of The Twilight Zone.”

This pandemic-altered school year has been a difficult one for everyone involved in athletics, and Coupeville High School volleyball coach Cory Whitmore has spent much of his season just trying to keep things working.

With four of seven Northwest 2B/1B League schools having Covid issues which have affected volleyball, the Wolves have seen their schedule change almost daily.

The latest hit — Concrete cancelling on Coupeville hours before what was supposed to be Senior Night in Cow Town.

The Lions reported two positive Covid cases in their spiker program, erasing Saturday’s varsity and JV matches, and shutting Concrete’s program down a week before the end of the season.

This follows on the heels of La Conner and Darrington both taking 10-day breaks mid-season after their own positive cases, while Friday Harbor sat out all fall sports after cases spiked in the San Juan Islands.

Coupeville, Mount Vernon Christian, and Orcas Island — which has instituted a no-fan policy for all games — are the only schools to avoid Covid quarantines (knock on wood) during the compressed fall season.

The Wolves have been affected, though, especially when it has come to trying to hold Senior Night.

CHS has one home contest left among its three remaining scheduled matches — but that is against Orcas, which will only play if fans are barred from the gym.

At this point, Coupeville’s Senior Night has been switched at least three times, only to have each plan upended by the pandemic.

Whitmore and Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith are scrambling (once again) to make sure Wolf 12th graders Jaimee Masters, Maddie Vondrak, Chelsea Prescott, and Kylie Chernikoff get their moment in the spotlight in front of friends and family.

Two possibilities include arranging a match with Darrington — now back from quarantine — or switching a May 7 road match at La Conner to a home affair.

For Whitmore, who was writing letters to his senior spikers when the Concrete cancellation came, the mission is simple.

“We can still honor our incredible seniors that deserve recognition,” he said.

“We will make it happen.”

 

UPDATE #1 — May 1 – 1:40 PM:

Senior Night rescheduled for Wednesday, May 5, with Darrington coming to Coupeville.

JV at 5:00 PM in CMS gym, varsity 6:30 in CHS gym.

 

UPDATE #2 — May 3 – 12:45 PM:

Concrete volleyball program reinstated by Skagit Health Department.

Darrington match cancelled.

Friday, May 7 match with La Conner switched from road game to home game, and will be new Senior Night.

JV 6:00, varsity 7:30.

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Wolf sophomore Jill Prince blasted six kills Thursday in her varsity debut. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a clean sweep on opening night.

After a considerable pause in action thanks to the ongoing pandemic, Coupeville High School volleyball players returned to the court Thursday, and did so in style.

Playing for the first time since November 5, 2019, the Wolf spikers pounded host Concrete, taking three-set wins at both the varsity and JV level.

The twin wins kick off fall sports, which are being played AFTER spring sports this time around, and reintroduce Coupeville volleyball to its old-school home, the Northwest 2B/1B League.

Next up is two-time defending 2B state champs La Conner, which comes to Whidbey Tuesday, April 13 for a big early test for the revamped Wolves.

How Thursday played out:

 

Varsity:

Despite playing with just a seven-player rotation, with four of those girls being varsity newbies, the Wolves held on for a 25-16, 25-23, 25-23 win.

“Overall, I’m very pleased with our introduction to this new league and how the girls went out there to compete and lay a strong foundation for growth,” said CHS head coach Cory Whitmore.

“They got a lot of touches in and had to rely on themselves to get the job done,” he added. “They responded well after timeouts and that is something I’m so impressed with.”

Senior Chelsea Prescott paced her squad on opening night, collecting 10 kills, 12 digs, and six service aces.

Also piling up the stats were Maddie Vondrak (12 booming kills), Jaimee Masters (12 digs), Kylie Chernikoff (five kills, five digs), Maddie Georges (25 assists and six digs), Jill Prince (six kills), and Ryanne Knoblich (six digs, two kills, two aces).

“After nearly a year and a half of not having played, it was terrific to see them get out there and have fun while competing,” Whitmore said.

“We are excited to get back in the gym and work on some things that need tightening, make some adjustments and learn from this first game.”

While all seven Wolves to see the floor drew praise from their coach, one in particular got a little extra love for showing grit and determination.

“Special shoutout to Kylie Chernikoff, who played through a pretty rough knock to the jaw by a fellow teammate,” Whitmore said. “She took a lot of Concrete’s serves and handled them well despite being a bit battered.”

 

JV:

Former CHS volleyball ace Ashley Menges made her debut as a coach, guiding the young Wolves to a 25-23, 25-21, 25-22 win.

While the set scores were close, Coupeville was able to pull out points at crucial moments, something which bodes well for the future.

Ashley Menges

“Everyone played well,” Menges said. “And it was nice to see everyone work through the kinks, especially since we crammed so much information and practice into a short amount of time.

“I’m very proud of the girls and excited to start the season with a win!”

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Scott Hilborn and Coupeville lost a game off their schedule, after Concrete ended its season early. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The schedule ebbs and flows.

The Coupeville High School baseball squad will have Friday, March 26 open, after Friday’s announcement that Concrete was cancelling its season.

The Lions don’t have enough players to continue, said CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith.

While the Wolf diamond men were only set to play Concrete once during this pandemic-shortened season, it was to be one of Coupeville’s five home games.

After the cancellation, CHS baseball now sits with a 10-game schedule.

First up is a home doubleheader against La Conner this afternoon, with the first pitch set for 3 PM.

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Jean Lund-Olsen netted a three-ball Friday for his first points of the season as the Coupeville varsity boys whacked Concrete. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They made some noise on Silent Night.

Romping to their most lopsided win in years, the Coupeville High School varsity boys basketball squad destroyed visiting Concrete Friday.

I’m not talking a 20-point or 30-point win here, either.

Catching a young Lions squad in the middle of the rebuilding process, the senior-heavy Wolves ran out to a 27-0 lead, put five players in double-digits scoring and romped to a 72-19 victory.

Yes, you read that right.

Coupeville, which has worked hard to rebuild its own program, just won by 50+ points, and in front of its home fans.

With the non-conference victory, the Wolves improve to 2-3 in a season in which they have been a handful of buckets away from being 5-0.

Heading into a match-up with The Bush School Saturday in Seattle, the CHS boys are beginning to click under third-year coach Brad Sherman, and are a dangerous squad when everything is working.

Friday night, fans wanted to cheer early, but couldn’t, as the team was holding a Silent Night game, in which everyone is supposed to remain quiet until the home team scores its 10th point.

That came fairly quickly, as the Wolves relentlessly attacked the Lions defense, which bent, then broke.

Hawthorne Wolfe banged home the game’s first bucket, off a steal and breakaway, before Sean Toomey-Stout and Jacobi Pilgrim slapped in layups.

Just like that, Coupeville was up 6-0 almost before clock operator Joel Norris was fully settled into his seat.

Quickly flexing his fingers, “The Ice Cream Man” got ready to keep up with the offensive onslaught, only to have the game halted by the one down moment of the night.

Senior big man Koa Davison, who has been having a breakout season, went down awkwardly on a play in the paint and hobbled off, forced to ice his ankle the rest of the game.

While his status going forward is unknown, any loss of time for Coupeville’s best offensive inside presence hurts.

Subbing in for Davison, fellow senior Ulrik Wells netted a pair of free-throws to stretch the lead to 8-0, and then, in a burst of speed and big-time hops, Toomey-Stout gave the crowd what it wanted.

As his layup slipped though the net, the Wolf faithful, led by former CHS hoops standout Hunter Smith losing his freakin’ mind, went bonkers — pretty much the way Coupeville Athletic Director Willie Smith had planned it.

The Silent Night idea comes from Taylor University in Indiana, which has pulled it off for 20+ seasons.

With the festivities out of the way, the Wolves, now with far-more vocal support, went right back to doing what they were doing.

Beatin’ the crud out of the Lions, who may (and I stress may) have gotten off at least one shot in the opening quarter.

Clamping down ferociously on defense, Coupeville forced turnover after turnover, then converted them into buckets in a blink of an eye.

Everyone had the magic touch, as seven different Wolves scored during a 27-0 first quarter which was unlike anything the CHS boys program has put together this decade.

Toomey-Stout tossed in eight points during the initial assault, while Mason Grove rang up another seven, including dropping the first of his three shots from behind the three-point arc.

For much of the night, the one bright spot for Concrete was the play of Levi Lowry, their 6-foot-3, 295-pound, surprisingly-nimble man in the middle.

He fought like a mad man on the boards, against great odds, and finally got the Lions into the scoring column a minute-plus into the second quarter, rolling hard inside for a three-point play the hard way.

Lowry scored Concrete’s first 13 points, and looked like he would be the only visitor to scratch his name into the scorebook until Bryon Ribera hit back-to-back corner three-balls in the final moments of the game.

While the Lions were a one-man crew for much of the night, the Wolves were the exact opposite.

Up 27-0 at the first break, they stretched things out to 44-5 at the half, then 67-13 by the end of the third quarter.

Coupeville hit three straight three-balls in the second frame, two from Grove and one from Wolfe, but that was just a set-up for a frenetic third, when CHS hit for 23 points despite a running clock being triggered a couple of seconds into the quarter.

Pilgrim was the main man, rumbling down low for three buckets, while Wolfe dropped another trey on his way to five in the quarter.

Keeping the ball moving from player to player, Coupeville again spread the love out, with seven players scoring in the quarter, then threw down a few more highlights as the clock raced from 8:00 to 0:00 in record time during the fourth quarter.

Jean Lund-Olsen came up with a spinning save on a ball about to go out of bounds, not only keeping the play alive, but ricocheting the rock right to Pilgrim, who spun around his defender for a final bucket.

Next play, some more JLO joy, as Lund-Olsen swished a long three-ball for his first points of the season.

Grove led the high-powered offensive attack, rattling the rim for 17 points, while Wolfe, Wells, Pilgrim, and Toomey-Stout collected 10 points apiece.

Rounding out the scoring were Brown (6), Gavin Knoblich (6), and Lund-Olsen (3), while Tucker Hall roughed up some folks on defense and senior Chris Ruck made his varsity debut to a huge roar from the student section.

After the game, players and fans mingled, still awash in the thrill of the rout.

Several went to Davison, offering best thoughts and encouragement as he hobbled out of the gym, ice bag still attached.

Off to the side, Brad Sherman’s four exuberant, basketball-loving little boys, perhaps the starting lineup a decade or so from now, had the time of their lives as Wolf three-ball gunner Natalie Castano helped them shoot at the far-away rim.

Eventually, Brad’s offspring would be bundled into their strollers, despite their protests, and sent home with grandma Deb and mom Abbey, while dad reflected on the win.

“Our bigs — Ulrik, Jacobi, Gavin, and Koa while he was in there — hit the offensive boards really well tonight,” Sherman said. “They all seemed really hungry on the boards, which is something we’re going to need from them going forward.

“Our defense as a team was just very impressive,” he added. “It was a really balanced team win, and that’s awesome.”

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