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Isaiah Bittner and the CHS football team join a new league this fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

If the world is back to normal, Coupeville High School football kicks off a new season September 4.

While no one knows how the coronavirus pandemic will play out, the Wolves do have a 10-game schedule set for their move to a new league and classification.

If prep athletic teams are allowed to compete this fall, Coupeville will be in the Northwest 2B/1B League, after spending the last two school years in the 1A North Sound Conference.

After a long stretch of time in which it was one of the smallest 1A schools in the state, CHS will now be one of the bigger 2B schools for at least the next four years.

The new classification counts, which were approved in January, stretch from 2020-2024.

With the other five North Sound Conference schools remaining at the 1A level, Coupeville hit the road and was welcomed back to its old stomping grounds.

In the Northwest League, the Wolves will face rivals which they have a long history with, as CHS was part of the league in previous decades.

The new set-up of the league has four 1B schools (Mount Vernon Christian, Darrington, Concrete, and Orcas Island) and four 2B schools (La Conner, Friday Harbor, Coupeville, and Chimacum).

Chimacum, which competed in the 1A Olympic League with Coupeville from 2014-2018, is the surprise addition, as they were left without a league after dropping down to 2B in the new classification counts.

Port Townsend and Klahowya remain at the 1A level, and will join the Nisqually League this fall, leaving only 2A schools in the Olympic League.

Chimacum applied to join the 2B Pacific League, but that conference opted to add Forks instead.

After that, the Cowboys were accepted into the Northwest League.

While most sports will feature all eight NWL teams competing together, football won’t.

On the gridiron, Coupeville will play home-and-away series with the other three 2B schools, with the rest of the schedule filled out with non-conference games.

The Wolves retain their annual matchup with South Whidbey, as the next-door neighbors vie for ownership of The Bucket.

The only team on the schedule that Coupeville coaches, players, and fans may be unfamiliar with is Napavine, which is slated to visit Whidbey late in the season.

Spoiler alert – it’ll give everyone a chance in Wolf Nation to see firsthand how we stack up against one of the best 2B gridiron programs in the state.

The Tigers captured a state title in 1976, then had sporadic success in the tourney until 2008, when they launched an incredible run.

Napavine football has ripped off 12 straight trips to the state playoffs, going 26-10 in postseason games while winning titles in 2008 and 2016.

It also has three runner-up finishes (2014, 2015, 2018), three trips to the semifinals (2011, 2017, 2019) and three to the quarterfinals (2009, 2010, 2013).

The one, and only time, the Tigers were knocked out in the first round in the last 12 years came in 2012, when they fell 19-14 to Raymond.

They say you have to beat the best to be the best.

For Coupeville, which is coming off its first winning season in more than a decade after going 5-4 last fall, the Napavine game will certainly qualify.

 

2020 CHS football schedule
(* = league game):

Fri-Sept. 4 — Port Townsend (6 PM)
Fri-Sept. 11 — @South Whidbey (7 PM)
Fri-Sept. 18 — @Forks (TBD)
Fri-Sept. 25 — La Conner (7 PM) *
Fri-Oct. 2 — Chimacum (7 PM) *
Fri-Oct. 9 — @Friday Harbor (7 PM) *
Fri-Oct. 16 — @La Conner (7 PM) *
Sat-Oct. 24 — Napavine (TBD)
Fri-Oct. 30 — Friday Harbor (7 PM) *
Thur-Nov. 5 — @Chimacum (7 PM) *

 

**Which of the five home games will be Homecoming is not set yet.**

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Prairie legend Emma Smith, back in her days as a Coupeville volleyball ace. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith, right next to the helmet of the main football player, is front and center in the latest Montana State University football advertising blitz.

From Cow Town to Bozeman, Emma Smith is still in the spotlight.

The former Coupeville High School athlete, who went to state in both volleyball and track and field, is currently a freshman at Montana State University.

While there, she spent a chunk of her fall attending Bobcat football games, and now a photo featuring her and other MSU students is at the heart of the gridiron program’s latest advertising blitz.

The poster seen above popped up on Twitter Wednesday, quickly setting the internet abuzz.

Smith, who was a First-Team All-Conference pick as a hard-hitting volleyball spiker during her CHS days, is part of one of Coupeville’s strongest athletic dynasties.

Her branch of the Smith family includes aunt Joli, a three-sport supernova during my days writing at the Whidbey News-Times, and uncle Todd, an All-Conference pick on both sides of the ball for the ’90 CHS football team, the only undefeated squad in program history.

And then there’s grandpa Steve, one of the most physically-gifted athletes the town has ever witnessed.

Today, though, the spotlight is firmly on Emma, no matter what town she’s currently calling home.

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After two seasons as a football coach at Coupeville High School, Kwamane Bowens is jumping to Oak Harbor. (Photo courtesy Bowens)

Bowens and Bennett Richter work the sideline in a game this past fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Kwamane Bowens is taking his talents north.

The former NCAA D-I football star, who has been an assistant gridiron coach at Coupeville High School the past two seasons, made the announcement Thursday on Facebook.

For the 2020 football season I will be coaching the defensive backs at Oak Harbor High School at the varsity level. I am beyond excited!!

I would love to thank the support I have gained from the past two years at Coupeville from parents and staff to the whole community.

To the coaching staff that gave me my first chance I am forever grateful and I thank you for letting me find who I was as a coach and mentor.

The things that we accomplished were amazing and I pray the program continues to grow.

To the kids I ask that you continue to give everything you got no matter what.

Do not let anybody tell you dreams don’t come true because those who say that don’t work for them.

Go win conference!

I am very excited for this new opportunity and can not wait for the new season.

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Ben Smith hauls in a pass during a practice. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Smith rumbles for yardage during a game at Kittitas last season.

Smith and departing senior Sean Toomey-Stout embrace after Coupeville’s final game. The Wolves finished 5-4, the program’s first winning record since 2005. (Deb Smith photo)

With Washington state schools closed down for at least six weeks due to the spread of coronavirus, we’re offering all Coupeville students a chance to be heard and stay connected.

Ben Smith is currently a junior at CHS.

With any school, football is probably the most exciting sport for anyone to go to or watch despite the team’s level of performance, but for the past few years that hasn’t been the case with our school.

Everyone has been doubting, and looking down on our program like we’re floating half-dead in the water.

Clearly getting a winning season wasn’t enough for everyone to open their eyes and see what our program has turned into.

I’m tired of all these fools who wanna try saying our team is this and that and we’re “garbage” when all these people could be on that field playing, but they’re not.

So all these people sitting back being talkers are the ones who have no remorse for team or community and only care about trophies and don’t look at the little things.

Over 50% of our team last season was made of FRESHMEN and we still came out positive on the season and some of those freshmen even started.

When do you ever see that many freshman starting on a varsity team?

People don’t see the talent in all these younger guys coming up; most choose not to have faith in them and worry about the big age group.

As little or big as they can be, I will always have faith and protect the guy next to me.

This year you WILL see Coupeville Football in the postseason. There’s NO way around it.

I’m doing my job like everyone else should be as well, being in that weight room, staying on top of my stuff; I’m even going to three camps before damn spring ball.

By my own freshman year, I lost a lot of love for football and before that I was a little boy loving the game so much and I was about to just give it up.

When Coach Marcus (Carr), and all these guys came around, we were doing something really no other coach has ever constantly been on you for, weight room, grades, camp, food, everything a football player should be taking care of.

This didn’t get serious until coach KB (Kwamane Bowens) started talking to me about college.

I have never wanted to ever go to college, even just to go play football.

With how far I was getting with these guys, I realized it’s much more than the effort you put in, it’s the guys around you who are meant to be there for you, who show you moral support, who are your mentors.

Without any of that, you’re all in this on your own.

I wanna finish my senior year with a statement, 30 years without a conference championship … that’s gonna change and people can laugh at me as much as they want or say it’s the same thing we say every year.

I’m setting my foot down and putting this out for the whole world to hear.

Not for one second I doubt any of my team.

If I gotta brawl for any of these guys, you know I’ll do anything to protect them from having their season ruined like mine was.

We need them stands PACKED every Friday night, people are gonna remember this and when it happens, they’re gonna keep coming to our games after this year is done.

It’s all cause of our coaches, our commitment of our players who before school was shut down came in every day at 6:30 AM to lift weights every other day, after school, running routes in the gym.

These are the guys who are gonna make a change to the program.

If you one of these guys doubting our program and you ain’t even on that field. Stop it right now!

You wouldn’t have an ounce of care to step on that field and do what not a lot of people would wanna do and put their bodies on the line.

Your opinion is irrelevant, as well as last season, a winning season ain’t gonna be enough to keep the hype alive, so a conference championship it is.

The only opinions that matter are the people who continue to believe in us.

People are gonna remember the times they doubted us, what I said and they’re gonna try and act like they’ve been with us this whole time.

They’re nothing but sleepers who been sleeping on us.

We will be conference champions this year.

NO WAY AROUND IT.

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Maya Toomey-Stout unleashes the fury. (Brian Vick photo)

Sean Toomey-Stout rumbles. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The wonder twins and their wonder moms — Beth Stout (left) and Lisa Toomey.

They came into the world together, born to be stars.

When we have the conversation about the best athletes I have written about, not just today, but all-time, Maya and Sean Toomey-Stout are among the first names I would raise.

The wonder twins, “The Gazelle” and “The Torpedo,” they are up there with Makana Stone, Hunter Smith, Madeline Strasburg, Nick Streubel, Breeanna Messner, and a few others.

So, while I normally wait until after graduation to induct Wolf athletes into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame, what’s going to change in 3-4 months?

The Toomey-Stout’s are golden now, and they’ll be golden in June, so why prolong the inevitable?

Throw open the doors to our hallowed digital world o’ wonder, and let Maya and Sean join older brother Cameron in the Hall.

It’s time.

From this moment on, when you look at the Legends tab at the top of the blog, you’ll see all three Toomey-Stout siblings in residence.

While both Maya and Sean still have a final track and field season to go, a swan song hopefully full of record-busting and state title-chasing, the duo have already established themselves as the gold standard.

As athletes, and as people.

Moms Beth Stout and Lisa Toomey have raised three of the finest kids to grace Coupeville, and I would regard them that way even if none of the trio had been athletes.

But dang, they have been, and their impact is undeniable.

Maya’s eye-popping power on the volleyball court, Sean’s electric, game-changing plays on the football field and basketball court, their complete and utter command of any event they compete in during track season.

And that’s just the start.

Maya was a very good hoops player herself until she let the game go to focus on volleyball, and her skills as a base thief during her little league softball days were truly uncanny.

I really believe she and her twin brother would be among the best to ever wear a CHS uniform in any sport.

Toss a tennis racket their way, say, or a soccer ball, give them a couple of practices, and be amazed.

Great genes help, yes, but what sets Sean and Maya apart from almost everyone else on their campus is their work ethic.

To find another recent Wolf athlete who worked as hard, in season and out, as the Toomey-Stout twins, you’d have to look around until you spotted … Camtastic.

Cameron set the pace for the family, and his younger siblings have lived up to his legacy.

Scan the photos from off-season training sessions in the CHS weight room and the same three faces pop up in 99.2% of the photos.

Other Wolf athletes come and go, with some reappearing on a fairly-steady basis, but the Toomey-Stouts were there EVERY DANG DAY.

They took nothing for granted, they prepared for everything, and they played their hearts out from the first day of their middle school adventure to the final days of their high school journey.

It’s Sean, his arm injured, sneaking back on to the field late in the final game of his football career, intent on anchoring his defensive unit to the end, regardless of the score or the pain.

When CHS coach Marcus Carr noticed “The Torpedo” ready to blow up the Interlake QB, and intent on accomplishing the feat with only one good arm, the Wolf gridiron guru shook his head softly, then went to retrieve his wrecking ball, a look of pride and concern mingling on his face.

It’s Maya, pushed to the limit in the final moments of her prep volleyball career, physically exhausted, mentally drained, after back-to-back epic matches, yet still finding a way to elevate and abuse the ball, until there were no more shots to make.

“The Gazelle” would have played all night, if need be. Like her brothers, she has no quit button.

That the Toomey-Stouts are great athletes is a start.

That they are top-notch students intent on using their brains, and not their brawn, to get ahead in life after their high school days, is more.

That they are kind, and caring, that they treat those around them with compassion, that they greet life with a joy which radiates outwards and touches all those they meet, is the most.

When Beth Stout and Lisa Toomey, two of the loveliest human beings I know, brought their children into the world, they made that world a better place.

And now, Cameron, Maya, and Sean continue the work of their moms, spreading love, joy, and general awesomeness.

We, as a town, as Wolf fans, have been blessed to be a part of their story, and putting them in my lil’ Hall o’ Fame is one of the easiest decisions I’ve ever made.

So why wait?

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