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Posts Tagged ‘old school rivalry’

Harris Sinclair teamed with Thane Peterson to shred their foes Tuesday, as Coupeville tennis bounced Friday Harbor 5-0. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Koby Schreiber rolled to a straight-sets win at #1 singles.

Call it a palate cleanser.

Taking a break from their slog through the Emerald City League, AKA “The Toughest Boys Tennis Conference in the State,” the Coupeville High School netters had a much-easier mission Tuesday afternoon.

And sure enough, even juggling the lineup and not using four regular varsity players, the Wolves still shredded visiting Friday Harbor 5-0.

After playing ritzy private schools much of the season, the chance to duel an old-school rival which was, admittedly, not up to its former glory, was a bit refreshing.

“Friday Harbor just resurrected their program this year,” said CHS coach Ken Stange. “They were green and it was their first match.”

Still, a win is a win, and this one lifts Coupeville to 6-4 on the season, kicking off a week in which it is scheduled to play three matches in as many days.

The Wolves travel to Bear Creek Wednesday, then host Bush Thursday, as they scramble to get all their matches in before the rain and the fast-approaching district tourney conspire to bring an end to the regular season.

 

Complete Tuesday results:

 

Varsity:

1st Singles — Koby Schreiber beat Ryker Mattox 6-2, 6-4

2nd Singles — Andrew Aparicio beat Max Mattox 7-5, 7-5

1st Doubles — Mason Grove/James Wood beat Frankie Black/Ricky Hughes 6-2, 6-2

2nd Doubles — Jaschon Baumann/Tiger Johnson beat Tyler Fleming/Hank Erickson 6-1, 6-1

3rd Doubles — Thane Peterson/Harris Sinclair beat Levi Wolf/Erik Ryan 6-1, 6-1

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Playing tight end for the first time this season Friday night, Dane Lucero had huge catches in a 33-12 Coupeville win at La Conner. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Freshman Xavier Murdy nailed three PATs and came within inches of scoring his first touchdown as a runner.

Matt Hilborn was a force to reckon with on both sides of the ball.

It begins with a rumble, rapidly spreading from the bottom of his shoes to the top of his electric-shocked hair.

The rumble becomes a guttural howl, and then his body begins to shimmy and shake, his head flies backwards, his arms pumping, his fists shaking as they slam into his chest.

Emerging from the haze of a rain storm, Alex Turner is dancing and behind him, sprawled on the sodden turf, another vanquished foe lies in a heap.

Often the Coupeville High School senior is celebrating one of his own back-breaking tackles, but Friday night in La Conner, he also did the full-on freak-out when teammates like Andrew Martin and Matt Hilborn were dropping hay-makers.

Every time Turner’s hips went in over-drive, the mass of Wolf fans who traveled down the highway to watch Coupeville administer a 33-12 whuppin’ on their old-school rivals, went bonkers.

Ignoring the frequent bursts of rain, the gusts of wind, and the fragrant aroma of manure wafting in off of nearby fields, Turner’s classmates, his fellow Wolf athletes, parents, alumni and random passerby grooved along with him.

“Dude’s crazy … craaaaaaaazzzzzyyyy … and I like it man,” said one former CHS coach.

And then he softly laughed and shook his head, smile spreading from cheek to cheek.

With Turner bellowing at the heavens, with QB Dawson Houston flinging the ball like a true gunslinger, dropping darts into the waiting hands of Dane Lucero and Gavin Knoblich, and with the CHS running game tearing up yardage, especially in crunch time, Coupeville headed back to the bus bearing a 3-1 record.

For a program which has won just three games in each of the last two seasons, which hasn’t posted a winning record since 2005, this is huge.

Only three Coupeville gridiron squads have started 3-1 in the last two decades.

The most recent was 2014, when the Wolves finished 5-5 behind record-busters Josh Bayne and Joel Walstad, the only non-losing record since before this year’s seniors were in kindergarten.

Now, a win next Friday at home against King’s in the North Sound Conference opener would stake the 2018 Wolves to arguably the program’s best start since the 1990 team rolled to 9-0 before losing in the state playoffs.

And while the Knights might have a gaudy history, they will come into that game a bit battered at 0-4, having been outscored 164-30 in their non-conference schedule.

But that match-up is still six days away, and as they exited La Conner Friday, the gathered forces of Wolf Nation were content to marinate in the moment.

Coupeville’s rumble in the rain, kicked off by a tremulous, ultimately soaring live vocal rendition of the national anthem, marked about the 2,000th time the former (and possibly future) league mates have clashed under Friday Night Lights.

And, to be honest, other than a win here, a win there, it’s a series the Braves have mostly dominated over the decades.

But you know what? The 2018 Wolves don’t know, and probably don’t care, what went down in say, 1977 or 1942.

In the moment, the new generation was in town merely to inflict damage.

Which was very doable, as, other than a random play here or there, like when two defenders ran into each other while trying to tackle the same La Conner receiver, letting him run wild, Coupeville was clearly the dominate team.

Even if the scoreboard took a moment or two to show it.

Despite putting together a 70-yard drive in the first quarter, with Hilborn busting off a 16-yard reception and 10-yard run wrapped around Sean Toomey-Stout zigging and zagging for his own 30-yard run to daylight, the Wolves couldn’t get the ball in the end zone.

CHS had first and goal from the eight-yard line, only to run four plays and come up virtually empty, leaving the game scoreless at the first break, while offering a stark reminder the Wolves hadn’t led at halftime in any of their previous games.

Coupeville shrugged off its scattershot opening, however, slamming home a pair of touchdown runs in the second quarter to take control of the game.

The first came on a short dash around the right side by Toomey-Stout, the second on a bolt up the middle by Hilborn.

The Wolves set up the run game by giving Houston a chance to air his arm out, and the eternally-positive signal caller sliced ‘n diced the La Conner defense.

One pass zipped over the middle, then dropped neatly onto Lucero’s fingertips, while another was a lob into the left corner which Toomey-Stout out-jumped the Braves to snag.

Mix things up with Martin dropping his shoulder and slamming into the heart of the defense for a short, but tooth-rattling and psyche-destroying run, and then Houston was back at it.

Leading Lucero down the left side, the Wolf QB spun a pretty, pretty ball through the rain drops, letting it tail off and drop like manna from heaven at the last moment.

The game was turning into a rout, until, for a time, it wasn’t.

La Conner got seriously lucky, when a short pass play blew up into a 64-yard TD, thanks to the aforementioned Wolf defenders colliding at high speed, leaving the Brave receiver to romp free.

And, while the Braves missed the PAT, they benefited from a weird call on a punt (not the first odd ref moment, and not the last) and tacked on another score late in the third quarter.

Back to within 14-12, La Conner went for the two-point conversion, and, essentially, the game ended on that very play.

The Brave ball-carrier was met head-on by almost all 11 Wolves on the field, who drove him halfway back to Whidbey, denying the tie.

Then they got really nasty.

The fourth quarter was not just a case of putting the hammer down, but instead of emptying an entire case of hammers, and then beatin’ the snot out of La Conner with a trillion blows.

Bing, bam, boom, the Wolves pounded home back-to-back-to-back TD runs, with some razzle-dazzle to open things, and some smash-mouth to close them.

The game-busting TD was a thing of precise beauty, with Houston zipping a short pass to Lucero, who spun, took a step or two, then lobbed the ball on a dime to Toomey-Stout, who was coming from behind under a full head of steam.

With “The Torpedo” lit and fired, the chase was on — though there was no chance La Conner would catch him — and Toomey-Stout (or just Stout, if you listened to the clueless PA announcer muddle through the evening) covered 60+ yards in .02 of a second.

Give or take a tenth of a second.

Big runs from Hilborn and freshman Xavier Murdy, a little more defense-softening from Martin to get a crucial first down, and strong work by unsung warriors Ben Smith and Gavin Straub, put the Braves on their heels.

“That was G-3! THAT … WAS … G-3!!!,” screamed injured Wolf Jake Pease with a huge grin as he hopped up on a bench and hollered at former teammates Hunter Downes and Kyle Rockwell in the aftermath of Straub making a kamikaze run.

Those heroics set up short scoring jaunts for Toomey-Stout and Houston, while a Hilborn pick thwarted La Conner’s last hopes.

The Wolf senior, who carries himself in a very business-like manner when on the field (even when a rival player tries, and fails, to start a fight), emerged from a pack of players and headed to the sideline, ball wedged firmly against his chest.

But if Hilborn wasn’t wailing, Turner was happy to oblige, doing the full-body shimmy and bellowing at the skies above.

Behind him, the CHS cheerleaders, soaked by the rain, but still as full of fire and joy at the end as they were at the start of a two-and-a-half hour game, danced on behind captains Melia Welling, Ashleigh Battaglia, Mica Shipley and Moira Reed.

Down the track, softball star Sarah Wright, part of a loyal, and vocal, group of Wolf athletes who followed their team to the mainland, was doing her own get-down-with-your-bad-self boogie.

And when you’re dancing like the Wolves and their fans are, every falling rain drop starts to taste like champagne.

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   Kameryn St Onge ripped off a series of silky shots Wednesday as she and partner Maggie Crimmins sailed to a straight-sets win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a genteel beat-down.

In a match where every other sentence began with “thank you” and the sound of laughter-laced conversation drifted from almost every court, Wednesday’s girls tennis match was far from a fight to the death.

Even if one team convincingly crushed the other between the lines.

The victor was a Coupeville High School squad which captured its fourth win in its last five matches, blanking visiting Friday Harbor 5-0.

The non-conference victory, coming against a longtime foe, lifts the Wolves to 4-5 on the season.

Adding two wins in three JV matches (against Friday Harbor’s varsity players), Coupeville was on cruise control all afternoon.

In fact, CHS coach Ken Stange gave his top two players a break, sending doubles duo Payton Aparicio and Sage Renninger off to train with a volunteer assistant coach rather than play against Friday Harbor.

The Wolves who did take the court were often deadly efficient, with Kameryn St Onge and Avalon Renninger, in particular, ripping off some extremely-nasty left-handed winners in two different matches.

The biggest drama came at #1 singles, but it didn’t involve any shot-making or rallies.

Instead, it arrived thanks to a broken shoelace which momentarily brought Coupeville ace Claire Mietus down low midway through the second set.

But, after pulling out the remaining lace, moving it around and retying a now much-shorter lace, she was able to keep her shoe on her foot long enough to close out her second win in as many days.

 

Complete Wednesday results:

Varsity:

1st Singles — Claire Mietus beat Alli Benz 6-2, 6-4

2nd Singles — Genna Wright beat Laurel Robertson 6-2, 6-3

1st Doubles — Avalon Renninger/Tia Wurzrainer beat Midi Thomas/Joely Loucks 6-0, 6-2

2nd Doubles — Maggie Crimmins/Kameryn St Onge beat Katie Kulseth/Tori Polda 6-2, 7-6(7-5)

3rd Doubles — Jillian Mayne/Zara Bradley beat Rachel Snow/Kai Di Bona 6-0, 6-2

JV:

4th Doubles — Heather Nastali/Megan Behan beat Thomas/Loucks 8-6

5th Doubles — Jaimee Masters/Emily Fiedler lost to Benz/Robertson 6-4

6th Doubles — Nanci Melendrez/Elaira Nicolle beat Di Bona/Snow 7-5

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