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Former Wolf Gabe Shaw hoists a trophy in Florida. (Photos courtesy Gabe Shaw, Sr.)

The line celebrates together.

He’s not a Wolf anymore, but he’s still a winner.

Gabe Shaw, who will be a senior at Clay High School in Florida this fall, kicked off his final season of prep football in style.

The standout lineman and his teammates stared down players from 15 other area schools to win the Clay/Duval Big Man Challenge, hosted by the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The National Football League franchise brought together the schools to give them a chance to face-off with rivals they might not play during the season.

Skills position players competed in 7 vs 7 games, while the linemen went toe-to-toe (and muscle to muscle) in strength events.

There was a medicine ball throw, weighted carry, a low sled push relay, and a tug of war.

Clay, a 5A school, went 9-2 last season, falling in its third playoff game.

The Blue Devils opened the postseason with 43-0 and 35-0 wins over Leesburg and Atlantic (Port Orange), respectively, before coming up on the short end of the stick 38-7 to Vanguard.

Shaw spent his first season in the Sunshine state pulling double duty, working as an offensive tackle and defensive end.

During his days in Coupeville, the two-way starter played football and basketball.

As a sophomore, Shaw was a crucial part of the first Wolf gridiron squad to post a winning record since 2005.

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Gabe Shaw, seen last fall in Coupeville, now plays for an undefeated football team in Florida. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Shaw made the local paper, out in front on a run. (Photos courtesy Gabe Shaw, Sr.)

The former Wolf (wearing #72) takes out a would-be tackler.

Nowhere to run, nowhere to hide for anyone who gets in the way of #72.

Different state, same strong results.

Gabe Shaw spent the past two seasons wearing the red and black for Coupeville, where his play on both sides of the line last fall helped the Wolf football squad capture its first winning record since 2005.

A family move sent him across the country to Florida, however, and he’s attending school and playing ball in the deep South.

Now a junior at Clay High School in Green Cove Springs, Shaw is a vital part of an undefeated gridiron team.

The Blue Devils sit at a crisp 5-0 after thunking Mendendez High School 49-7 Friday night.

Clay has outscored its foes 220-68 so far this season.

Shaw, who is listed at tackle and defensive end, rocks #72 for the Blue Devils.

During his time in Coupeville, the younger Shaw also played basketball for the Wolves, while dad Gabe, Sr. was a popular assistant coach for the CHS football program.

Younger brother Ben was a taekwondo champ, and mom Rosmond kept the Shaw empire firing on all cylinders.

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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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   Coupeville grad Ben Etzell brings the heat on the college diamond. (Libby Auger photo)

Big Ben, little pic. (Photo property of Saint John’s University baseball)

Ben Etzell is warming up, in more ways than one.

The former Coupeville High School baseball star is kicking off his senior season at Saint John’s University with extended spring training in Fort Myers, Florida, as opposed to being on campus in Minnesota.

On Tuesday, that meant playing in a balmy 76 degrees as opposed to trying to warm up his fastball in a frigid 29 degrees.

With his arm limbered up, Etzell made his season debut, tossing two perfect innings and nabbing the win in relief as the Johnnies slipped past Alvernia University in a 2-1 thriller.

The victory came in the first of two games Saint John’s played Tuesday.

A 13-1 win over the University of Pittsburgh-Bradford in the nightcap improved SJU to a pristine 4-0 on the young season.

The Johnnies have outscored their foes 53-4.

Etzell and Co. play doubleheaders Wednesday and Thursday, then cap their Florida adventure with a single game Friday before getting on a plane and gettin’ the heck out of town.

After an eight-day break, the Johnnies travel to Arizona, where they’ll play seven games in four days.

Saint John’s doesn’t set foot on a Minnesota diamond until Mar. 31, then plays the final 23 games of its 39-game regular-season schedule inside its home state.

Tuesday, the Johnnies dueled down to the wire with Alvernia, with the two teams trading solo home runs over the first seven innings.

With the game knotted at 1-1, Etzell, who was a First-Team All-Conference pick as a relief pitcher a season ago, took the mound in the eighth and promptly set the opposing batters down one-two-three.

Sparked by their ace, the Johnnies rallied for a run in the top of the ninth, with Max Jackson ripping an RBI single to plate what turned out to be the winning run.

Etzell finished off his perfect season debut with another one-two-three inning in the ninth, finishing with two strikeouts while facing the minimum six batters.

With the win, he improved to 9-2 as a college hurler.

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CHS grad Monica Vidoni needs a helping hand to get to Florida to play college softball.

   CHS grad Monica Vidoni (left) needs a helping hand to get to Florida to play college softball.

Have a buck or two? Help send a former Wolf from snowy Minnesota to sunny Florida.

Monica Vidoni, a 2015 Coupeville High School grad, and her Rainy River Community College softball squad are scheduled to play seven games from Mar. 4-7 in Titusville.

The trip, which opens the season for the Voyageurs, is funded largely by the players ability to raise funds, so Vidoni has set up a GoFundMe to raise her share.

Rainy River currently has only the minimum nine players on its roster, so every player has to step up or the team stays home.

Vidoni has played volleyball, basketball and softball both of her years at RRCC.

To see her fundraiser, pop over to:

https://www.gofundme.com/rrcc-florida-funraiser

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