Posts Tagged ‘football’

Gabe Shaw soars to the hoop for a bucket during a middle school game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Gabe Shaw is a young man of many talents and many interests.

He’s a three-sport athlete who excels in football, basketball and track — though driver’s ed may sideline him during the upcoming hoops season.

Shaw is also a math and science buff who plays the trumpet and makes time to volunteer with the local Boys and Girls Club.

And, if it’s sweet sounds you seek, he has the musical answer.

As long as you’re like him and give big respect to the power of “old-school hip hop from the ’90s.”

Put it all together and you have one of the brightest rising stars on the horizon, a talented student/athlete who makes his debut at Coupeville High School this fall.

When he makes the jump from CMS to CHS, Shaw will kick things off by playing his favorite sport, a perfect way to ease into his new world.

“Football (is my favorite), because you only can succeed if everyone does their job,” he said. “Plus you get to hit people!”

Shaw, who enjoys “staying in shape, and the competition,” has assessed his game and sees positives and areas where he’d like to improve.

“I would like to increase my breakaway speed and decrease my off days,” he admitted, but he’s proud of being a “great team player.”

“I’m not afraid to lead when called upon,” Shaw said.

The young star hails his parents (dad has been a CMS football coach), his brother and his uncle, Mark, along with “all the people who have dedicated the time to coach me.”

One way Shaw will aim to thank those who have helped him is by continuing to work hard, every day, on the field and off.

“I want to keep my grades as high as possible, and contribute to the team(s) everything I can.”

Read Full Post »

Cody Roberts (11) muscles in for a bucket during a game last season. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Roberts is a key member of an undefeated Coupeville Babe Ruth squad headed to the state tourney next week.

Cody Roberts has been in the game for a while now.

The youngest of three brothers, he started playing baseball when he was three. Now, like older siblings CJ and Brian, he’s ready to make an impact at the next level.

A three-sport athlete (he suits up for the Wolves in football, basketball, and baseball), Roberts will be a freshman at Coupeville High School in the fall.

Part of a strong group of young Central Whidbey athletes, he has his eyes firmly set on success.

“I plan to stay with all three sports; my goal is to stay fit and hopefully lead a couple teams to some state championships,” Roberts said.

He’s in the running for a title this summer, playing a key role on a Coupeville Babe Ruth baseball team which is rolling along with a 16-0 record.

The Wolves are off to Ephrata next week for the state tournament, another chance for Roberts to take the diamond and play the game he loves most.

“Baseball is my favorite because it’s what I am best at and I have been playing it since I was three,” he said.

Roberts, who enjoys spending time with friends and hails math as his favorite class, works hard to “always have some play money.”

But, around that, he devotes a lot of his time to athletics, and continues to fine-tune his skills set as he matures.

“I like being an athlete because it gives you a goal,” Roberts said. “And also a reason to keep your grades up and it keeps you off the streets.”

When he assesses his own game, he sees areas he likes and areas he wants to strengthen.

“My weakness is going down easily when losing,” Roberts said. “But my strength is helping my team stay up even when we’re tired.”

As he looks backwards at his run through little league, youth sports and middle school, and then turns and gazes at the wide-open possibilities which high school will offer, the young star always goes back to pay tribute to those who believed in him from the start.

“My mom (Heidi), and my dad (Brent), have had very big impacts on my sports life,” Roberts said. “And my grandma, cause she takes me to all my sports and encourages them.

“My mom coached me in baseball for a couple years and my parents put me in sports and kept me in them.”

Read Full Post »

After building a winning program in Concrete, Marcus Carr has returned to Whidbey to coach the Coupeville High School football team. (Photo courtesy Carr)

Marcus Carr is ready for the challenge.

While recent history has not been kind to Coupeville High School football — Carr is the fifth head coach in nine seasons, and none of his four predecessors posted a winning record — positive change can happen quickly on the gridiron.

Having made the jump from Concrete, where he won 13 games across two seasons, the new Wolf head coach is tackling the past head-on, while aiming for future success.

“It is hard on the players with the amount of turnover,” Carr said. “I have had several meetings with the players to discuss the state of the program and my goals and their goals for our future.

“I let them know it will be a process to get where we want to be,” he added. “With hard work and dedication from myself, the assistant coaches and the players, I am confident we will turn things around!”

After playing high school football as a young man in Oklahoma, Carr joined the Navy but never strayed far from the game he loves.

“I like the competition, and teamwork. It’s truly a team sport, no one person can do it alone,” he said. “It also creates great camaraderie.”

He’s led numerous youth teams in Virginia, Texas and Washington state, coaching both in Oak Harbor and Mount Vernon after he and his family arrived on Whidbey in 2005.

Carr moved into high school coaching as an assistant with Mt. Vernon, put in time as an offensive coordinator with the Arlington Grizzles semi-pro team, then took the reins as head coach in Concrete in 2016.

Under his guidance, the Lions went 6-3 in 2016 and 7-3 in 2017, winning the Northwest League title last season.

Since retiring from the Navy in 2012, Carr has balanced living in Oak Harbor with working off the Island. He’s currently doing IT for the Mount Vernon School District.

While he enjoyed his time with the Concrete football program, the chance to run a team on Whidbey had a special lure.

“I have wanted to coach high school football on the Island for several years,” Carr said. “I am excited to have the opportunity.”

With CHS assistants Brad Sherman and Jerry Helm stepping down in an effort to carve out a little more time in busy lives while balancing young children and real-world jobs, the Wolves coaching staff will have a different look this year.

But it should be one operating on the same page, as Carr will be joined by “a staff of coaches that I have coached with before.”

As Coupeville moves into the new 1A North Sound Conference this fall, joining Sultan, King’s, Granite Falls, South Whidbey and Cedar Park Christian-Bothell, the football players will be among the first Wolves to see action.

As they do, their new coach is aiming for success, both in the present and in the future.

“We want to re-energize the program,” Carr said. “Win league and make the playoffs.

“I want our team to be one of the top 10 teams in 1A year after year,” he added. “It won’t happen overnight, it’s going to take a lot of hard work and dedication.

“But, with the energy that the coaching staff has brought in and the hardworking, enthusiastic players we had in spring football, we are on our way!”

Read Full Post »

   Coupeville has a new stadium. We should name it in honor of the ol’ ball coach, Ron Bagby.

Coupeville High School football is in a bad place.

This is not meant as a criticism of any individual currently or previously involved in the program. But it is reality.

CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith is in the process of finding a new head coach, and that hire will be the third head coach in four years, and the fifth in the last nine seasons.

For next year’s seniors, guys like Matt Hilborn and Shane Losey, they will have spent most of their prep careers just trying to get comfortable with a coach, only to have him depart midway through the process.

The Wolves haven’t posted a winning record since they went 6-5 in 2005.

That’s 11 losing seasons in 12 years, with a 5-5 mark in 2014 the only mild bright spot.

But there is hope. Real hope.

Coupeville is not a school stuck in the midst of an epic losing skid. It is not Glascock County in Georgia, which lost 82 straight games from 1990-99.

The Wolves retain ownership of The Bucket, having drilled Island arch-rival South Whidbey in back-to-back seasons, and they have some very talented players set to return next fall.

Sean Toomey-Stout, AKA “The Torpedo,” was on his way to an All-Conference season on both sides of the ball as a sophomore before an injury against Vashon derailed him.

Ty Eck, a standout as a freshman, has returned to Cow Town after playing in Oak Harbor as a sophomore and Missouri as a junior, and is primed to have a stellar senior campaign.

Toss in Hilborn, Losey, Chris Battaglia, Andrew Martin, Dawson Houston, Ryan Labrador, Dane Lucero, Jake Pease and others, and the next CHS head coach will have plenty to work with.

But the program could use a boost, a feel-good injection, and I can think of three things to provide that.

Two are already in place, or will be.

A new coach, whether they come from the current staff or from outside the district, always provides new hope, even more so if they are someone who inspires confidence.

Willie Smith has pledged his next hire will be someone committed to CHS for the long-term, someone willing to put in not just the hours, but the years, to build the program from the ground floor.

Someone like second-year volleyball coach Cory Whitmore or first-year boys basketball coach Brad Sherman, who have both lit a fuse under their programs, and seem like they’re ready to prowl the prairie for decades.

The new football coach will start their season on the road Aug. 31 at Port Townsend, with their home debut set for Sept. 7 against Vashon Island.

That game will be the first football game played with Coupeville’s new stadium in place, which provides another jolt of energy.

Having much-larger stands, with a roof to block out the Whidbey rain and a press box to keep me snug as a bug (well, it’s important to me…), with that stadium on the same side as the parking lot, is HUGE.

And this is where I think CHS, its administration and its fans, should take advantage of the new stadium and use it to provide not one, but two, big jolts of energy to the Wolf football program.

It’s simple.

The field the Wolf gridiron giants, and soccer booters, and track and field throwers, play on, is named for Mickey Clark, a longtime local historian and all-around good guy.

It’s been that way for decades, and there is absolutely, positively, no reason to change it.


With a simple, but very powerful, gesture, we can do more.

When the Wolves take the field against Vashon, the man on the PA system, most likely the aforementioned Willie Smith, should welcome everyone to … “Ron Bagby Stadium at Mickey Clark Field.”


With one simple sentence, you honor Coupeville football’s past and you kick the future off in style.

Now, if you’re not from around here, you may be asking, “Who is this man they call Bags?”

He is Coupeville football.

Before our recent string of short-term coaches, Bagby prowled the sidelines for 26 seasons, until his retirement in 2009.

After showing up from the wilds of Forks, the man who once wore the shortest short-shorts since Larry Bird, a man who still owns records as a college football player, transformed the CHS program.

He led the Wolves to their only undefeated season in 1990, hosting a state playoff game at Mickey Clark Field with a squad boasting a 9-0 record.

Bags took numerous teams to the playoffs over the years, was in charge the last time the Wolves posted a winning record, and taught three decades worth of players how to never back down and never give in, regardless of the name on the jersey worn by the other team.

Plus, he coached track and boys basketball, where he remains the last guy to take that program to state (way back in ’88), and also did time as an Athletic Director.

While he currently declines the opportunity to coach, Bagby is still haunting Coupeville’s gyms and weight room as a teacher, which makes this even better.

It is always preferable to honor someone, to pay tribute to them for what they have accomplished and the lives they have affected, while they’re still around to blush.

You name the new stadium for Bags, hang a plaque, get wife Marie and his kids to force him to show up for a pre-game ceremony, and you make that first home game far more than just a game.

I have no doubt former players and coaches would pack the joint for that ceremony, which means we can create something similar to what happened when we did the 101-year anniversary event for boys basketball this winter.

The electricity, the joy, that flowed through our gym that night is like nothing I have ever experienced during my time covering sports here in Cow Town.

It was the past, the present and the future united, and it lit a spark under the Wolf boys basketball team like nobody’s business.

With the stands jammed, with the legends of the past transformed from names in old newsprint into living, breathing men reunited, the current Wolves fed off the energy and savaged Chimacum.

Beyond that one game, the experience continues to have an impact, and there is little doubt a similar night to honor CHS girls basketball will be on the docket for next season.

But, before we get there, we have this golden moment set for Sept. 7 — the start of a new home football season, the introduction of a new coach and a new team, and a shiny new stadium ready for the spotlight.

Bring back the greats of the past, from Ian Barron to Noah Roehl, from Casey Larson to Chad Gale and beyond, honor Bags, a man who made the Wolf football program feared and respected, and inspire the players of today.

It’s simple. It’s easy. It’s right.

“Ladies and gentlemen, and Wolf fans of all ages, welcome … to Ron Bagby Stadium at Mickey Clark Field.”

Just do it.


Want to let CHS administrators know how you feel? Sign our petition at:


Read Full Post »

   Three years after Wiley Hesselgrave lost a chance to participate in a playoff game, the WIAA may finally change the inane rule which prevented him from appealing. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

The wheels of bureaucracy turn slowly.

Three years after Coupeville High School football star Wiley Hesselgrave was shafted by an asinine rule, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association may finally change it.


During Senior Night against Concrete in 2015, Hesselgrave, a rock-solid guy who played the game as hard, clean, and full of passion as any Wolf ever, took a hand-off and went left, slashing for yardage.

Taken down by a tackler right in front of the press box, he was assaulted by a second Lion who launched themselves onto his prone body.

It was a blatant late hit and Concrete was flagged.


Despite no evidence to support such a call, the ref ejected Hesselgrave, saying he threw a punch at a Concrete player as they got back up.

And I’m telling you, IT NEVER HAPPENED.

I’ve seen high school players throw punches, and, in one case, during an Oak Harbor girls basketball game, solidly connect, fist to chin.

Wiley didn’t even shove the Concrete player as he stood up, much less swing.

This wasn’t across the field. The entirety of the play was right smack-dab in front of me (and two former coaches who were also occupying the dilapidated old CHS press box.)

Wiley was innocent.

But the ref made a (poor) judgement call and Hesselgrave was tossed, and ejections merit an immediate one-game suspension.

Which meant no mini-playoff game the next week against Chimacum for Coupeville’s best player.

And there was nothing anyone could do about it, since WIAA rules specifically prohibit schools from appealing ejections on judgement calls by the refs.


But, that may be changing.

The WIAA Representative Assembly (35 high school delegates and 19 middle school delegates) will vote on a whole new raft of amendments between April 27-May 4.

A 60% vote of approval is necessary for an amendment to pass. Those that do go into effect Aug. 1.

A lot of the possible changes are minor, or affect things which have little to no impact on Coupeville.

But ML/HS Amendment #10 wants to strike right at the heart of this doozy from the current WIAA rule book:

Ejections resulting from a judgment call by a contest official may NOT be appealed. Pictures, video evidence and/or replay recording devices may not be used.

Instead, it would be replaced with this:

Ejections resulting from a misinterpretation or misapplication on the part of the ejecting contest official(s), or a judgment call that resulted in an ejection, may be appealed.

School approved video evidence, submitted by the principal or designee, may be used to determine whether an ejection was due to judgment, misinterpretation or misapplication on the part of the ejecting contest official(s).

I understand the desire to protect refs by their association. They have a hard job as it is, and are constantly being second, third and fourth-guessed.

But not allowing schools to show video evidence, when it would prove an ejection and suspension was unwarranted, does the athletes a great disservice.

This is something which has needed to change for a very long time, and I give big props to to the Mid-Columbia Conference and the Greater Spokane League for stepping up and submitting this amendment.

In their rationale for the move, they say:

High school and middle level officials at times make mistakes in judgment that lead to the ejections of players.

To not have a source of appeal, with these decisions directly impacting student/athletes, is wrong.

If we are kid-first than we are responsible to provide DUE PROCESS, a process that increases fairness and prudency.

They also point out other states, such as Oregon, allow the use of video when appealing ejections during high school play.

And, obviously, professional and collegiate officials have existed for many years with an appeal system in place.

There is no reason Washington state high school sports should be any different.

If the ejection is valid, there would be no appeal. End of story.

But to deny a player such as Hesselgrave a chance to have an obvious correctable wrong reversed leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouths.

Time for the WIAA to rinse, spit and embrace rightful change.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »