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Wolf seniors Kai Wong (left) and Dominic Coffman hug it out. (Becky Terry photo)

“They gave their town something to be proud of.”

Bennett Richter’s first year as the head football coach at Coupeville High School is one to remember, as he and his squad put together the best run the program has witnessed in 32 seasons.

Which is why, as he hugged his players and thanked them in the cold November air Saturday night, a season-ending loss in the first round of the 2B state playoffs offered a mixture of happiness and sadness for the gridiron guru.

Facing perennial powerhouse Onalaska on the turf at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium, the Wolves were doomed by a variety of things in a 30-14 defeat in a game much closer than the score might sound.

A bad bounce here, a call or two which could have gone either way there, and the loss of starting quarterback Logan Downes to a knee injury with the game tied late in the third quarter conspired to deny Coupeville.

Onalaska, which won a state title as recently as 2019, advances to the quarterfinals to face undefeated Okanogan next weekend, while the Wolves finish at 7-2.

That’s the most wins for a CHS gridiron team since the 1990 team went 9-1, which, not coincidentally, was the last time the program won a league title and earned a trip to the state tourney.

Ron Bagby (left) and Jason McFadyen, Coupeville’s coach and starting QB the last time the Wolves were in the state playoffs. (Photo courtesy McFadyen)

Jump forward three decades, or 11,691 days, if we’re counting, and Coupeville football was back in the big dance.

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Wolves earned a “home” playoff game, meaning they travelled just 10 miles up the road to O-Town, while Onalaska bumped and bounced on the bus for close to 200 miles one way.

Richter’s first playoff game as a head coach came on the same field where he played the final two years of his own prep career for Oak Harbor High School.

Both teams came prepared to slug it out, bodies slamming into bodies, uppercuts mixing with jabs. It was an old-fashioned, rock-em, sock-em brawl, just the way the game was designed to be played.

Coupeville got first crack at the ball, mixing up its play-calling with Logan Downes zipping 10 and 15-yard passes to Hunter Bronec and Tim Ursu, respectively.

But a big sack on third-and-nine forced a Wolf punt, and Onalaska went on a 17-play, 88-yard drive which ended with Rodrigo Rodriguez crashing into the end zone from three yards out.

The Wolf defense stiffened, denying the Loggers on a two-point conversion run, but a pattern was set with Onalaska running, running some more, then running another billion times while keeping the clock ticking away.

CHS wasn’t backing down, however, and it reclaimed the lead on its second drive.

Back-to-back penalties on Onalaska got things rolling, while Ursu made a phenomenal snag on a fourth-down pass while bouncing all of his body off the turf.

With the Logger defense back on its heels, Scott Hilborn burst through the line, veered to the left sideline and outran the defense on a 14-yard scoring run, knotting things at 6-6 with 9:47 left in the half.

A booming PAT kick from Daylon Houston gave Coupeville its one and only lead of the game at 7-6, but Rodriguez punched in a one-yard scoring run two minutes later to push the visitors back in front.

This time the Loggers were successful on their conversion play to push the margin to 14-7.

Wolf lineman Josh Upchurch and his biggest lil’ fan. (Brittany Kolbet photo)

With the ball back in their hands, the Wolves put together a stellar drive which, unfortunately, ended in heartbreak.

Downes was operating at peak performance, threading a 14-yard pass to Hilborn through a forest of defender arms, while also juking a Logger defender out of his shoes on a 19-yard quarterback scramble.

Toss in a face mask penalty on Onalaska and several smash-mouth runs from Dominic Coffman, shedding tacklers by knocking them on their butts, and the Wolves were headed for the tying score.

And it looked like they got it, until the refs said no, no, no.

Downes pegged a pass to the left on third-and-goal from the seven-yard line, and in the resulting explosion of bodies, the ball came loose.

Had the Wolf receiver already crossed the line, as Coupeville coaches argued?

Or did the ball pop free before the six points were official, allowing Onalaska to pounce on it for a touchback?

The refs ruled the latter, and it stung badly for the Wolves.

Hilborn did his best to make sure the score would stay at 14-7, bringing down a runner behind the line for a solid loss, then skying high to poke away a potential touchdown pass on the final play of the half.

Still, Onalaska had the lead, and would receive the opening second-half kickoff. Coupeville needed to make a stand.

And boy howdy, did the Wolves, as they forced, and recovered fumbles on three straight possessions.

Two of those came on on-side kicks, the ball skittering off of Loggers and being snatched up by Coupeville’s rampaging pack of hit-happy defenders.

The Wolves converted the second of those turnovers into a game-tying touchdown, with Downes hitting Hilborn on a 25-yard pass, before Coffman blew through the line on his way for a 19-yard jaunt to the end zone.

The third of those fumble recoveries seemingly shifted the momentum firmly to Coupeville, only for tragedy to strike.

Downes connected with Ursu on another big pass play only to be smushed while scrambling three plays later.

The ball popped free, was recovered by Onalaska, but then popped free a second time thanks to a wicked hit from a Wolf defender at the goal line and looked like it had been recovered by Coupeville.

Instead, the refs ruled the Loggers retained possession, which set them up with a first-and-goal at the two-yard line.

Enter Mr. Rodriguez, who bowled over the Wolf defense with what would prove to be the winning score.

While Onalaska’s splendid sophomore celebrated a three-touchdown game, the mood was much more somber on Coupeville’s side of the field.

Downes spent the game’s final 16 minutes on the sideline, his knee wrapped in ice, with freshman QB Chase Anderson making a sudden, unexpected playoff debut against a fired-up Logger defense.

After throwing just 10 passes during the regular season, the young gun held up well in the spotlight, hitting a 20-yard pass to Ursu late in the game and showing fleet feet on scrambles.

But the Onalaska defense was stout and stingy, and it held at the most-important moment of the game.

After almost bending too far.

Coupeville, trailing 22-14 and facing third-and-12 from its own three-yard line late in the fourth quarter, pulled off a play which had, in the words of CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith, “both the razzle and the dazzle.”

Anderson flipped the ball to Ursu, who dropped a pass over the defense and into the long arms of Bronec, who weaved back and forth for 54 yards before finally being brought down from behind.

Add in that previously mentioned 20-yard bomb from Anderson to Ursu, and a shorter, but still very key pass to Houston, and the Wolves were in business.

Until Onalaska stiffened, denying Coupeville on a third-down plunge from the one-yard line, on a play which got more damaging after the refs dinged the Wolves for unsportsmanlike conduct.

A questionable call, that shoved CHS back to the 18-yard line, and an interception on the next play put a cap on things.

Don’t stop believin’. (Becky Terry photo)

Or so it seemed, until the Wolves quickly forced a three-and-out, got the ball back with less than two minutes to play, and went for the tie one more time.

Anderson alertly scrambled away from the defense to get Coupeville to midfield, but a holding penalty on the Wolves two plays later hurt.

Onalaska finally slammed the door shut with just 48 ticks on the clock thanks to a pick-six from Case McGraw, sending Logger fans to the parking lot with an extra skip to their steps.

While the loss ends Coupeville’s season, the 2022 campaign was a huge step forward for a program which failed to post a winning record between 2006-2018.

The coach who ended that skid in 2019, Marcus Carr, was on hand Saturday to watch his former players in action, as was Ron Bagby, who led the last Wolf gridiron squad to reach the state playoffs in 1990.

This year’s team boasted 34 players, the deepest roster in years, and racked up 52 touchdowns, led by Coffman (14 TD’s), Hilborn (13), and Ursu (12).

The Wolves scored 26 times on the ground — tying the program record set in 2014 — 18 times through the air, twice on interceptions, twice on fumble recoveries, twice on kickoff returns, and twice on punt returns.

More than the wins and losses, however, was how the team gelled, and how the community rallied around them.

The stands were overflowing for home games, fans traveled for road rumbles, near or far, and there was an excitement around the program which was infectious.

“The guys poured their hearts into this all season,” Richter said. “You can see that tonight with the hugs and the emotion.

“A loss always stings, but this is a resilient group; they didn’t put their heads down no matter the situation,” he added.

“The seniors led, and the young guys stepped up, and now that they’ve had a taste of what this is like, they’ll want more.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them!”

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After busting big plays all season, Coupeville senior Dominic Coffman is the Offensive MVP of the Northwest 2B/1B League. (Renae Mulholland photo)

The Wolves ruled both sides of the ball.

Fresh off winning its first league title in 32 seasons, and just days before opening the state playoffs, the Coupeville High School football team dominated All-League selections.

Northwest 2B/1B League coaches selected CHS seniors Dominic Coffman (offense) and Scott Hilborn (defense) as conference MVPs, while Benett Richter was tabbed as Coach of the Year.

Coupeville finished the regular season 4-0 in NWL play, clinching the program’s first title since 1990, and 7-1 overall.

The Wolves open the 12-team 2B state tourney Saturday in Oak Harbor, when they host Onalaska in a loser-out game.

The winner advances to the state quarterfinals to face Okanogan.

Richter, in his first year as CHS head coach after several seasons as an assistant, offered thanks to everyone involved in the Wolf program.

“Coach of the year was made possible by the hard work of my dedicated and passionate staff and the unbelievable buy in and hard work of the kids who truly do the heavy lifting,” he said.

“Without these guys, I’m just another Joe Schmo with a whistle! Love this team! Love this town!!”

Josh Upchurch, a huge key to Coupeville’s impressive play on both sides of the line. (Brittany Kolbet photo)

 

Coupeville’s honorees:

 

OFFENSE:

 

MVP:

Dominic Coffman (RB)

 

First-Team:

Logan Downes (QB)
Scott Hilborn (RB)
Tim Ursu (WR)
Kai Wong (OL)
William Davidson (OL)
Zane Oldenstadt (OL)

 

Honorable Mention:

Daylon Houston (WR/K)

 

DEFENSE:

 

MVP:

Scott Hilborn (LB)

 

First Team:

Dominic Coffman (LB)
Tim Ursu (DB)
Logan Downes (DB)
Josh Upchurch (DL)
William Davidson (DL)

 

Honorable Mention:

Jonathan Valenzuela (LB)
Kevin Partida (LB)

Wolf juniors (left to right) William Davidson, Zane Oldenstadt, and Logan Downes all earned All-League honors. (Michelle Glass photo)

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Tim Ursu, making ’em miss. (Helen Strelow photo)

The only record that matters is the win/loss record.

Sure, that’s true, to a point.

But individual and team stat marks are important as well, particularly to bloggers who get strong page hit numbers when they write about said records.

So, compromise a bit, hardliners. Or don’t read this story.

Your choice.

Either way, as the Coupeville High School football team preps for its first state playoff game in 32 years, some of us are taking a moment to look at what records have fallen, or may fall, during this gridiron campaign.

So far, we have one change on the big board, with junior quarterback Logan Downes having broken a three-way tie for most touchdown passes in a single game.

Previously, Wolf QB’s Corey Cross (1971), Brad Sherman (2001), and Hunter Downes (2016) jointly held the record with four scoring heaves.

That changed, however, with Logan Downes putting the ball into his receiver’s hands, and watching five different Wolves hit paydirt during a 78-0 rout of a downtrodden La Conner squad.

Like it. Love it. Hate it.

It’s a record, and stands forever, or at least until another Wolf gunslinger comes along and peppers a defense for six TD’s.

Logan Downes limbers up his touchdown-tossing arm. (Brenn Sugatan photo)

Moving forward, Coupeville has between one and four games left to play this season, depending on how the postseason works out.

Saturday’s matchup with Onalaska, set to kickoff at 4 PM at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium, is guaranteed.

After that, the 12-team 2B football playoffs are single-elimination, so win and play on, lose and start thinking about basketball.

While it’s always possible a Wolf goes off and shatters single-game marks like Ian Barron’s 320-yard rushing effort from 1998, Gabe Eck’s 403-yard passing performance from 2015, or Scott McMartin’s 27-tackle night from 1981, here’s what seems likely to be in play.

 

Season-Individual:

 

Passing TD’s:

Joel Walstad (18) – 2014

Logan Downes (17) – 2022

 

Receiving TD’s:

Hunter Smith (11) – 2016

Tim Ursu (7) – 2022

 

Rushing TD’s:

Ian Barron (16) – 1998

Dominic Coffman (10) – 2022
Scott Hilborn (9) – 2022

 

Interceptions:

Steve Konek (7) – 1986
Dan Neider (7) – 1986
Hunter Smith (7) – 2015

Logan Downes (3) – 2022

 

Sacks:

Nick Streubel (10) – 2013

Scott Hilborn (6) – 2022

 

Season-Team:

 

Passing TD’s:

(20) – 2014

Joel Walstad (18)
Wiley Hesselgrave (1)
CJ Smith (1)

 

(18) – 2022

Logan Downes (17)
Chase Anderson (1)

 

Receiving TD’s:

(20) – 2014

Josh Bayne (10)
Wiley Hesselgrave (6)
Ryan Griggs (3)
CJ Smith (1)

 

(18) – 2022

Tim Ursu (7)
Daylon Houston (3)
Dominic Coffman (2)
Scott Hilborn (2)
Chase Anderson (1)
Hunter Bronec (1)
Henry Ohme (1)
Aiden O’Neill (1)

 

Rushing TD’s:

(26) – 2014

Josh Bayne (15)
Lathom Kelley (5)
Joel Walstad (4)
Wiley Hesselgrave (1)
Chance Kleinfelter (1)

 

(24) – 2022

Dominic Coffman (10)
Scott Hilborn (9)
Johnny Porter (3)
Logan Downes (1)
Tim Ursu (1)

 

Sacks:

(22) – 1996

Nick Sellgren (7)
Joey Biller (4)
Bill Marti (3)
Rich Morris (3)
Jason Sechrist (3)
Justin Thiesen (2)

 

(17) – 2022

Scott Hilborn (6)
Dominic Coffman (3)
Peyton Caveness (2)
Josh Upchurch (2)
Jonathan Valenzuela (2)
Coen Killian (1)
Mikey Robinett (1)

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Coupeville High School football players Daylon Houston (left) and Aiden O’Neill, off to Friday Harbor on a business trip. (Davin Houston photo)

One year, two epic streaks spiked.

First, the Coupeville High School boys basketball team broke a 34-year dry spell, advancing to the state tournament for the first time since 1988.

And now, after a 43-14 dismantling of host Friday Harbor — it was 43-0 when CHS pulled most of its starters — the Wolf football squad is state-bound for the first time since 1990.

The win, Coupeville’s sixth-straight on the gridiron, lifts it to 7-1 on the season and caps a flawless 4-0 run through the Northwest 2B/1B League.

After previously clinching at least a tie for their first conference title since the ol’ ball coach, Ron Bagby, was still sportin’ short shorts, the Wolves won the NWL crown outright Friday night.

It’s the third league title for CHS football, with the 2022 squad joining the 1974 and 1990 teams, and this will be the fifth trip to state for the program.

The 12-team 2B state tourney kicks off Nov. 11, and the Wolves won’t know their foe or the site of their opening game until the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association seeds the teams Sunday, Nov. 6.

For a look at the still-blank state bracket, pop over to:

http://www.nw1a2bathletics.com/m2/tourn.php?act=vt&tid=3666

To punch their state ticket, the Wolves took a business trip to Friday Harbor and, quite simply, punched their hosts in the mouth.

Do the CHS football players, ages 14-18, really understand how ferocious Mike Tyson was in his prime in the ’80s and ’90s?

You know, those years where each time he stepped into the boxing ring you thought he might actually kill the poor sap trying to hide in the other corner, weeping into his gloves?

Maybe. Maybe not.

But, to a man, they imitated Iron Mike Friday, inflicting damage, both physical and emotional.

Peyton Caveness, warrior. (Brenna Silveira photo)

Dominic Coffman and Scott Hilborn, operating behind a line of big ol’ boys like William Davidson, Zane Oldenstadt, and Josh Upchurch, ran over Friday Harbor.

Then Wolf QB Logan Downes gashed the already-hurting defense, with fleet-footed receivers like Daylon Houston, Tim Ursu, and Hunter Bronec hauling in buttery-soft passes.

Coupeville scored on each of its first six possessions Friday and wasn’t subtle about it.

Coffman capped an opening 50-yard drive, plunging into the end zone on a short bull run, garnering what would be the first of four touchdowns on the night for the CHS senior.

Tack on a Daylon Houston PAT, force and recover a Friday Harbor fumble three plays later, then score again, and the tone was set.

Touchdowns #2 and #3 also came via Coffman — a 13-yard burst to freedom around the left side, followed by a 25-yard jaunt down the right sideline.

In between those scores, Friday Harbor put together its best drive of the game and got absolutely zip to show for it.

The Wolverines ran 15 plays, starting in the first quarter and ending in the second, went from their own 33-yard line to Coupeville’s 19, but had back-to-back running plays absolutely blown up at the end by CHS defenders.

Facing a fourth-and-nine, Friday Harbor went for the field goal, only to watch in horror as the ball ended up somewhere down around the ferry parking lot instead of splitting the uprights.

Coupeville tacked on a fourth touchdown right before the half, with Downes lofting a scoring strike into the waiting hands of Ursu.

Tim Ursu, unleashed. (Photo courtesy Ashleigh Casey)

Pushing the Wolf advantage to 28-0, it capped a drive in which CHS, facing a fourth-and-four, laughed at the danger and pulled off a 23-yard pass play with Bronec using a death grip to pluck the incoming ball from the heavens.

If Friday Harbor thought it might pull off a miracle second-half comeback, those hopes were dashed.

Quickly.

Hilborn outran a Wolverines receiver in a sprint downfield, then came back to the ball to pick it off, a roundhouse right to the temple for Friday Harbor.

Seconds later (OK, three plays), it was time for the Wolf weapons to detonate one more time.

Knocking Friday Harbor defenders off their feet, Hilborn shot in from 20 yards out for a touchdown, then Coupeville muffed the snap on the PAT.

Which might have been the plan all along, as Daylon Houston stopped in mid-stride, dropped his kicking leg back to Earth, snatched the ball off the sod, and flipped the jets.

Showcasing his wheels, Daniel and Alia’s middle son took off like a bat out of Hell, and beat a pack of defenders to the corner, waving bye-bye-bye as he notched his first two-point conversion of the season.

“Hey Dawson … mom says I’m faster than you.” (Alia Houston photo)

Tack on touchdown #4 for Coffman, this one on a 63-yard rumble down the left sideline, and a final Houston PAT and we had arrived at 43-0 and the end of the third quarter.

Now, give Friday Harbor some credit.

Trying to retain a bit of dignity as the league title was ripped from their hands on the night they celebrated Homecoming, the Wolverines scored twice in the waning moments against Coupeville’s younger players.

Which is fine and dandy, but Coupeville has still outscored its foes 349-101 this year, with Friday’s six-touchdown effort giving the Wolves 50 TD’s.

Riding his four-score effort, Coffman reclaims the team lead with 13 TD’s, while Ursu and Hilborn each have 12.

Downes first-half scoring pass was his 17th touchdown heave of the season, leaving him one off of Joel Walstad’s single-season CHS record of 18, set back in 2014.

As a team, the Wolves have rushed for 24 TD’s and thrown for 18 — freshman Chase Anderson connected on one while subbing for Downes earlier this season.

The school single-season team records, both set in 2014 by Josh Bayne, Walstad, and Co., are 26 TD’s on the ground and 20 through the air.

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Wolf sophomore Hunter Bronec has the most receiving yards of any non-senior this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Tim Ursu is money in the bank. (Brenn Sugatan photo)

Roll on, Wolves.

The Coupeville High School football team is off to a 5-1 start after bashing 2A Bellingham 48-6 last week, and the stat sheet reflects a balanced attack on both side of the ball.

From fab frosh to seasoned seniors, 26 different Wolves appear in the numbers compiled by CHS coaches.

With three weeks left in the regular season, a look at where things sit:

 

OFFENSE:

Passing:

Logan Downes — 60-109 for 807 yards with 11 TDs
Chase Anderson — 4-10 for 31 yards with 1 TD

 

Receiving:

Tim Ursu — 21 receptions for 215 yards
Scott Hilborn — 16-205
Daylon Houston — 11-189
Dominic Coffman — 6-133
Hunter Bronec — 4-48
Aiden O’Neill — 1-25
Johnny Porter — 1-14
Cameron Breaux — 1-5
Marquette Cunningham — 1-(-3)

 

Rushing:

Coffman — 59 carries for 465 yards
Hilborn — 39-368
Jo. Porter — 30-135
Downes — 16-58
Ursu — 11-31
O’Neill — 5-17
Jack Porter — 1-8
Xander Stinnett — 2-5
Anderson — 3-4
Devinion Hill — 1-1
Mikey Robinett — 1-0

 

Total Yards (Rush/Pass/Rec):

Downes — 865
Coffman — 598
Hilborn — 573
Ursu — 246
Houston — 189
Jo. Porter — 149
Hun. Bronec — 48
O’Neill — 42
Anderson — 35
Ja. Porter — 8
Breaux — 5
Stinnett — 5
Hill — 1

 

All-Purpose Yards (Rush/Rec/KR/PR/IR):

Hilborn — 673
Coffman — 598
Ursu — 519
Houston — 360
Jo. Porter — 149
Downes — 83
O’Neill — 49
Hun. Bronec — 48
Ja. Porter — 8
Breaux — 5
Stinnett — 5
Anderson — 4
Hill — 1

 

Pancake blocks:

William Davidson — 1
Zane Oldenstadt — 1

 

Touchdowns:

Hilborn — 10
Coffman — 8
Ursu — 8
Jo. Porter — 3
Houston — 2
Downes — 1
O’Neill — 1

 

Conversions:

Ursu — 1

 

PATs:

Houston — 12
Anderson — 11

 

Field Goals:

Houston — 1

 

Points:

Hilborn — 60
Ursu — 50
Coffman — 48
Houston — 27
Jo. Porter — 18
Anderson — 11
Downes — 6
O’Neill — 6
Team — 2

 

DEFENSE:

Tackles:

Hilborn — 57
Ursu — 52
Coffman — 40
Kevin Partida — 40
Peyton Caveness — 30
Jonathan Valenzuela — 26
Davidson — 23
Downes — 18
Josh Upchurch — 17
Robinett — 16
Kai Wong — 10
Houston — 9
O’Neill — 7
Marcelo Gebhard — 6
Oldenstadt — 5
Hurlee Bronec — 2
Coen Killian — 2
Anderson — 1
Myca Clarkson — 1
Ja. Porter – 1

 

Tackles For Loss:

Hilborn — 10
Valenzuela — 6
Coffman — 5
Upchurch — 4
Caveness — 3
Ursu — 3
Robinett — 2
Downes — 1
Partida — 1

 

Interceptions:

Downes — 3
Coffman — 1
Hilborn — 1
O’Neill — 1
Ursu — 1

 

Passes Defensed:

Ursu — 8
Downes — 5
Hilborn — 3
Davidson — 2
O’Neill — 2
Ja. Porter — 1
Valenzuela — 1

 

Fumble recoveries:

Coffman — 3
Caveness — 2
Hilborn — 1
Partida — 1
Upchurch — 1
Ursu — 1
Valenzuela — 1

 

Sacks:

Coffman — 3
Hilborn — 2
Valenzuela — 2
Caveness — 1
Robinett — 1
Upchurch — 1

 

QB Hurries:

Coffman — 4
Davidson — 4
Oldenstadt — 3
Hilborn — 2
Robinett — 1
Wong — 1

 

SPECIAL TEAMS:

Punts:

Downes — 7-255

 

Kickoff returns:

Houston — 4-171
Ursu — 4-155
Hilborn — 3-97
O’Neill — 1-7

 

Punt returns:

Ursu — 6-118
Hilborn — 1-3

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