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   Joy abounds in Coupeville, where the volleyball squad is one win away from clinching back-to-back Olympic League titles. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Color me genuinely shocked.

If you need proof that any team can beat any other team on a given day, look no further than Vashon Island football stunning Port Townsend 27-21 Friday in overtime.

The Pirates, who started the season 0-6, entered that game having been outscored 303-60, while the RedHawks, even after a one-point loss to Klahowya, entertained playoff hopes.

To which I say, no more.

Over here in Coupeville, where we continue to lose football players to injuries at a staggering rate, there was no miracle on the gridiron.

But our other sports are looking pretty good, so life is balanced out.

Wolf volleyball, in particular, is flying high, needing just one win in its final three matches to clinch back-to-back league titles.

Plus, if you add up the varsity (9-2), JV (9-1) and C-Team (3-0) records, the Coupeville spikers are an astonishing 21-3 under the guidance of Cory Whitmore, Chris Smith and Ashley Herndon.

Regular season play wraps up in both volleyball and soccer this coming week, with postseason action for tennis and soccer kicking off.

The Coupeville booters host their playoff opener Oct. 28 in Oak Harbor, while weather issues have jammed both the league tourney and districts into the same week for the netters.

As we head down the stretch run for fall sports, a look at the league standings, through Oct. 22:

Olympic/Nisqually League football:

School League Overall
Cascade Christian 5-0 7-1
Charles Wright 4-1 6-2
Klahowya 3-2 3-5
Port Townsend 3-2 3-5
Bellevue Christian 2-3 2-6
Vashon Island 2-3 2-6
COUPEVILLE 1-4 3-5
Chimacum 0-5 2-6

Olympic League volleyball:

School League Overall
COUPEVILLE 6-0 9-2
Klahowya 4-2 6-6
Chimacum 1-5 1-8
Port Townsend 1-5 3-10

Olympic League girls soccer:

School League Overall
Klahowya 7-0 13-1
COUPEVILLE 5-2 7-7
Chimacum 1-6 1-9-1
Port Townsend 1-6 2-11

Olympic League boys tennis:

School League Overall
Klahowya 4-1 12-2
COUPEVILLE 4-2 6-7
Chimacum 0-5 0-11

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   Coupeville grad Nick Streubel hangs out with family after a game. (Photo courtesy Nanette Streubel)

   He’s like a Greek god, he is. (Photo property of Central Washington University football)

Nick Streubel is healthy and the college football world trembles.

After missing all but one game last year thanks to an injury, The Big Hurt is back in the lineup for the Central Washington University football squad and the Wildcats can not be beaten.

A 17-10 come-from-behind win over North Alabama Saturday lifts CWU, ranked #9 in the last NCAA D-II poll, to a crisp 8-0.

The Wildcats have three regular season games left, all against league foes who they beat the first time around.

Central hosts Azusa Pacific for Senior Night Oct. 28 in a game which will be streamed by ESPN3, then hits the road to face Simon Fraser and Humboldt State the next two weeks.

Streubel, a three-sport star (football, basketball, track and field) during his days wandering Coupeville’s campus, is a red-shirt sophomore.

With six games under his belt this season, he has logged time as a lineman in 13 college games during his career.

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   Former Wolf gridiron star Mitch Pelroy, seen here while playing for Montana Western, has earned a chance to get paid for playing football. (Haylee Sauer photo)

   Hanging out with lil’ sis Kirsten, a soccer and track star who taught him everything he knows. (Photo courtesy Kirsten Pelroy)

The kid who once thrilled Coupeville football fans is about to become a man who gets paid for doing what he loves.

Former Wolf legend Mitch Pelroy, a two-way star during his time in Cow Town, has been notified he will be drafted by the Rivals Professional Football League Dec. 2.

The eight-team league, based in Florida and Michigan, plays an eight-game schedule, and is a great way for players to pile up high-quality game film and attract notice from the marquee leagues — the NFL, CFL and AFL.

Pelroy, who was an All-Cascade Conference player at Coupeville, finished a stellar run at Montana Western last season, where he was a defensive back and kick returner.

After a red-shirt season, he played in 36 games across four seasons for the Bulldogs, piling up 1,122 yards returning punts and kickoffs.

Pelroy also had 55 tackles, 14 assists, two sacks, four tackles for a loss and broke up six passes while playing in the Montana Western secondary.

To prepare for the RPL combine, he trained four times a week in Bozeman with former New England Patriots linebacker Dane Fletcher.

Once at the combine, Pelroy competed in the 40 yard dash, broad jump, vertical jump, shuttle run and L-cone speed and agility drill.

He impressed the scouts and coaches on hand, earning his ticket to the draft, where he’s guaranteed of being selected.

Once he finds out his team, Pelroy will be given a performance-based incentive contract, with the possibility of guaranteed money from signing or roster bonuses.

“Getting paid to play football has been a dream since I could walk,” he wrote on Facebook. “Only time and hard work will tell.”

During his time at CHS, Pelroy was an All-Conference football player on both sides of the ball, while also playing basketball and running track for the Wolves.

He went to the state track meet in five different events and held the school record in the 200 at graduation.

 

For more info on the Rivals Professional Football League, hop over to:

http://www.rivalsnation.com/

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   A season of pain summed up in one photo, as Matt Hilborn (on crutches) talks to Hunter Smith, who was lost three weeks ago. (David Stern photos)

Dawson Houston (2) and James Vidoni prepare for action.

A rainy day gave way to gorgeous skies come game time.

Dane Lucero (55) and Co. hit the water bottles during a timeout.

Every base covered.

   Today’s cheerleaders shepherd tomorrow’s rally leaders on the field for a halftime performance.

O’er the land of the free and the home of the Wolves.

“I … can’t … stop my leg from dancing!!”

   Cameron Toomey-Stout (11), noted ball-hawk, gets ready to shut down his side of the field.

Andrew Martin (32) refuses to go down, even if it is 1-on-4 at this point.

It was a lovely night for a game.

After rain earlier in the day, Friday night boasted clear skies, little wind and mildly nippy temps on the prairie as Coupeville hosted Klahowya on the gridiron.

While the final score, and the number of Wolf players headed to the MASH unit, were on the depressing side, we can balance that out a bit with some snappy pics.

They come to us courtesy David Stern, who worked the sidelines all night.

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   Wolf lineman Julian Welling cleared room for his QB, Hunter Downes, on a short TD run Friday night. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

“I’ve never seen anything like this.”

As Coupeville High School football coach Jon Atkins uttered those words in the aftermath of a 34-12 loss to visiting Klahowya Friday night, they were said not with anger, or wonder, but instead resignation tinged with a bit of muted anguish.

He wasn’t talking about the loss, however, even if it dropped the Wolves to 1-4 in Olympic League play, 3-5 overall.

What was on his mind, and the minds of virtually everyone in Wolf Nation, was whether his team will have enough bodies to finish its season.

Football teams live by the rule “next man up,” but when you’re a small school and your opening day roster was already thin at its fullest, a wave of injuries can be devastating.

Welcome to Coupeville’s season of pain.

The Wolves lost sophomore Sean Toomey-Stout, their top rusher and tackler, and senior Hunter Smith, a two-way All-League player who holds seven school records, midway through game #5 at Vashon.

Friday night CHS may have taken another body blow, as juniors Matt Hilborn and Chris Battaglia spent the second half on the sidelines, with visits to doctors and x-rays still to come.

Both are key two-way starters, bruising rushers and defensive stalwarts. Hilborn is also Coupeville’s kicker.

He went down with an ankle injury which looked disturbingly like the one which ended Sean Toomey-Stout’s season, while Battaglia re-injured his ribs.

Senior receiver Cameron Toomey-Stout, who has been reduced to fighting off triple teams as Coupeville’s lone remaining big-play threat, also took an especially nasty shot to the throat after hauling in a catch.

In one of the few moments of grace for the Wolves this season, Camtastic sat out a play or two and returned to end the game, a time when Wolf QB Hunter Downes exited the field moving unsteadily after absorbing several vicious hits.

The Wolves, who started the season 2-0 and were still flying high after beating Vashon, are fighting two wars in the second half of the season — one against their foes and one in just trying to stay upright and in one piece.

Even with all the pain and bad karma, Coupeville hung tough with Klahowya for a half, trailing just 14-0 at the break.

Taking advantage of the depleted CHS defense, which was also missing a key starter who was on a hunting trip, the Eagles ran, ran and ran some more.

Tyler Vandergriff, a burly battering ram, softened up the line, then fleet-footed frosh Hunter Wallis got the glory, running away from Wolf tacklers on a pair of short TD sprints.

The scores came on Klahowya’s first two possessions of the game.

Wrapped around an equally long drive by Coupeville, which flamed out after the Wolves had first and goal from the three-yard line, one Eagle score came at the 7:29 mark of the first quarter, the next at the 7:46 mark of the second.

Klahowya, much as it did the previous week when it upset Port Townsend, utilized a bend-but-don’t break defense in the first half.

Cameron Toomey-Stout snagged five passes and piled up 55 yards on Coupeville’s opening drive (he finished with 13 for 128), only to see his team come up short in the red zone thanks to two penalties, a run blown-up in the backfield and a deflected pass.

Intent on doing as much as humanly possible, Camtastic returned a kickoff 60+ yards late in the second quarter … only to see his team stall out again.

This time, two short runs, an incomplete pass and a bobbled snap did the dirty deed.

After surrendering the opening touchdowns, Coupeville’s defense stiffened for the remainder of the half, with the defining play being Andrew Martin blowing up a Klahowya runner deep in the backfield for a big loss.

Atkins praised Ryan Labrador (“Really solid tonight on both sides of the line”) and Martin (“Andy is stepping up big for us; he continues to surprise me”) for their play under fire.

Even with four key starters chained to the sidelines by injuries, the Wolves opened the second half with a bang, as Jake Hoagland matched Toomey-Stout with a huge kickoff return.

But, just as before, Coupeville’s offense stalled out, unable to capitalize on incredible field position.

The Wolves didn’t break through until late in the third quarter, after Klahowya had tacked on another TD run, this one by Karsten Martinson, to stretch the gap to 20-0.

Downes, chasing Brad Sherman’s career touchdown passes record, rifled a 12-yard frozen rope to Toomey-Stout, hit Hoagland in stride for 25 more, than went up top to Camtastic for the score.

The 31st TD heave of his career (which puts him two shy of Sherman’s mark), it was a gorgeous bomb to the deepest part of the right corner of the end zone.

Toomey-Stout, having zipped past his defender, reached to the heavens and pulled it in at the very last second, his feet dancing just inside the line.

Things went downhill from there, though, as CHS, without Hilborn on the field, missed the PAT.

Tack on another short Klahowya TD run, then a 70-yard pick-six by Eagle Andrew Dickson, and the game was out of reach.

The undermanned Wolves scrapped until the end, however, getting a second score midway through the fourth quarter.

Toomey-Stout pulled off another long kickoff return, then hauled in a 19-yard bomb from Downes to move his team down the field.

A couple of power runs from Martin put the Eagle defense on its heels, before Downes, running behind Julian Welling’s teeth-rattling block, crashed in from three yards out for his second rushing TD of the season.

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