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Damon Stadler sank a pair of three-balls Tuesday, scoring a team-high eight points for the Wolf C-Team. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Play for today, build for tomorrow.

The Coupeville High School boys basketball C-Team hit a lot of the right notes Tuesday night, something which pleases coach Scott Fox.

The Wolves put together their best shooting performance of the season, and, while they came up short in a 44-29 loss to visiting Granite Falls, the signs of growth and improvement are everywhere.

“Kids responded with a great practice yesterday and it produced our best offensive outburst to date,” Fox said. “We lost, but competed hard and are starting to play together and aggressive.

“Very happy with the effort and performance.”

Damon Stadler and Jaylen Nitta sparked the Wolf offense, netting eight points apiece, with Stadler knocking down a pair of three-balls from great distance.

The duo were backed by Chris Cernick, who worked hard in the paint to notch six, while Jonathan Partida (4), Brayden Coatney (2) and Ben Smith (1) also scored.

Tony Garcia and Andrew Aparicio rounded out the roster, with all eight Wolves in action bringing the heat on both ends of the floor.

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   Mathias Anderson (5) and Nezi Keiper pose for a photo Thursday after making their debut as CMS football players. (Sarah Saunders photo)

   A young, fairly inexperienced Wolf squad almost pulled off a stunning comeback. (Bob Martin photo)

It came dangerously close to being a miracle comeback.

If you went to the parking lot just a hair early Thursday, you missed a wild finish to the season debut of the Coupeville Middle School football squad.

Down by two scores with under a minute to play, the Wolves pulled off half a stunning rally, only to finally have luck (and the clock) run out on them in a 21-14 loss to visiting Chimacum.

Damon Stadler sent a jolt of electricity through the packed bleachers, ripping a ball free and careening 80+ yards down the left sideline for a defensive touchdown with just 43 ticks left on the clock.

That pulled CMS from the brink of a sure loss to the tantalizing possibility of overtime, but it wasn’t to be, as Chimacum fell on Xavier Murdy’s ensuing onside kick.

The late-game heroics capped a game in which a thin, inexperienced Coupeville squad held its own pretty dang well.

Wolf coach Bob Martin has 20 players on his roster, but five of those weren’t wearing pads Thursday, leaving him with a fairly short bench.

Chimacum, which featured a surprisingly beefy line, controlled the pace of the game in the early going, building a 14-0 lead by running, running some more, then running one final time.

The Wolves sputtered a bit on offense in the first half, finally putting everything together on their final possession before halftime.

Caleb Meyer got things going when he brought back a kick-off 35 yards, then Murdy went to work under center.

The CMS 8th grader, replacing the departed Cade Golden at QB, hit Scott Hilborn and Hawthorne Wolfe on short passes to soften the defense, before connecting with Cody Roberts on his first scoring play.

A 36-yard catch-and-run, in which Roberts shed several would-be tacklers as he rambled down the left sideline, put CMS on the board, though the extra point attempt was thwarted by a bad snap.

The two teams burned some serious clock in the third quarter, going through 12 scoreless minutes during which each team had just a single possession.

If you were expecting Chimacum to go away from its clock-burning ways in the fourth quarter, you’d be out a few bucks, as the Cowboys continued to use a steady stream of runs to milk time.

When they finally bashed in their third score of the afternoon on a five-yard plunge up the middle, they had frittered away another eight-plus minutes, finally exiting the field up 21-6 with 3:52 to play.

Not having been on offense since early in the third quarter, Coupeville promptly went three and out and all the Cowboys had to do was run the clock out.

Enter Stadler and cue the miracle that almost was.

After his touchdown was made official — a flag on the field momentarily put a damper on things, but turned out not to be a Wolf spirit-crusher — Murdy nailed the PAT kick, which in middle school football is worth two points.

Coupeville set up for an onside kick, hoping to retrieve the ball and have a shot at a tie or win, but Murdy’s kick didn’t take a vicious enough bounce and a Cowboy fell face-first on it, ending things with a whimper and not a bang.

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