Posts Tagged ‘Paul Messner’

   Kyla Briscoe’s hair tries to mug her, but she can knock down jumpers blindfolded. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The Wolf bench stays on top of the action.

Jakobi Baumann, backed by Jake Hoagland, fires up his horn.

Finding her way blocked, Hannah Davidson looks to pass out of trouble.

And the band played on.

   Though only a freshman, Chelsea Prescott played like a seasoned veteran in her playoff debut.

   International Man of Mystery Paul Messner is a favorite of cameramen everywhere.

   Avalon Renninger (20) clamps down on defense, with a little help from Maddy Hilkey (left) and Prescott.

Don’t get in front of John Fisken when he’s got someplace to be.

Shredding tires Saturday, the ever-busy camera bug hauled tail back from covering wrestling districts in Edmonds and, against all odds, made it to Whidbey in time to shoot the second half of Coupeville’s girls basketball playoff game.

The pics above are courtesy him.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:


And, when you do, remember, your purchases keep him going and help fund college scholarships for CHS student/athletes.

Read Full Post »

Paul Messner

   Paul Messner (top) is joined by fellow Hall of Fame inductees (l to r) Daniel McDonald, Micky LeVine, Jaime (Rasmussen) Burrows and Mike Bagby.

Big in the moment.

The five legendary athletes who comprise the 22nd class to be inducted into the Coupeville Sports Hall o’ Fame made their marks by playing their best at crunch time.

Whether running wild on a football field, legitimizing soccer at a school with little history on the pitch or lifting their team to a groundbreaking hoops win, all five stepped into the spotlight and soared.

So, today, we welcome them to their new home (after this they’ll reside at the top of the blog, under the Legends tab) and offer a round of applause.

Say hello to Paul Messner, Daniel McDonald, Jaime (Rasmussen) Burrows, Mike Bagby and Micky LeVine, then bask in the afterglow of their athletic excellence.

Our first inductee, McDonald, was a superb multi-sport athlete, but he goes in to our Hall as a football player.

In particular, we’re honoring him for his senior season in 2001, when he was the only Coupeville player to be named First-Team All-Conference in the Northwest A League on both offense and defense.

A hard-hitting defensive back, McDonald was also the featured back in an explosive offense.

With fellow Hall o’ Famer Brad Sherman gunnin’ away at the quarterback spot for nearly 1,500 yards, McDonald crashed through the line for another 1,184 yards on the ground.

His 14 touchdowns accounted for nearly half of Coupeville’s 31 end zone visits that season (Brian Fakkema added eight TD’s, while Matt Helm tossed in three) and McDonald’s consistency was his hallmark.

He broke 100 yards rushing in seven of nine games (topping 150 five times), with a high of 199 against Concrete.

After high school, McDonald went on to play college ball quite successfully, just like our second inductee.

Bagby, who joins dad Ron and sister Ashley in the Hall (and yes, Jason and April, I know you’re both still out there), was your prototypical three-sport star at CHS, then played college basketball for two different schools.

For his induction, I’m turning the mic over to Bagby’s former teammate, current CHS assistant football coach Ryan King:

I played football with him for two years, I played baseball with him for one year and watched him on the court for two.

Mike was a very gifted athlete and was a great leader. He excelled in every sport and def was a big part in both basketball and football.

Mike was our QB when we went to the playoffs in 2005.

He played a huge role and I saw him improve as a QB from his junior year to his senior year.

He was a play-maker. He knew how to win and knew how to lead a team.

He was also one of our DB’s and always came up with the big plays when we needed it.

In basketball he was our Kobe; he was the guy who could take over a game and we would think there were times he couldn’t miss.

Taking over games was a specialty of our third inductee.

Messner excelled in multiple sports, but he goes in as a football player, because, like McDonald, he had a season for the ages.

For the guy many now know as Santa Claus, for his epic beard and smile, 1965 was the best of times and worst of times.

A senior captain for the Wolf gridiron squad, Messner abused rival tacklers in the first four games of the season, rolling to 185, 208, 223 and 154 yards on the ground.

Toss in long kickoff returns (he took one to the house for 90+ yards and six points) and huge tackling totals (he amassed 30 in just the first two games) and Messner was one of the best players in the state, not just on the Island.

Unfortunately, an injury early in game five basically brought his season to a finish on the spot, and Coupeville, which was 3-1 and ranked #7 in state polls, stumbled to the gate without their play-maker.

Still, 50 years later, what is remembered is not the end, but the month-long tango with the record book danced by Messner. It was a short run, but one that still echoes down through the decades.

That’s the same sort of impact employed by our fourth inductee, Burrows, who is being immortalized for a moment in time.

Jump to March 2, 2000, and the Coupeville High School girls’ basketball team, which has never won a game at the state tourney, enters the fourth quarter against Freeman trailing 37-26.

Then, history was made.

The Wolves roared back to life with a 20-5 fourth-quarter run, capped by Burrows, normally a defensive spark-plug, stepping up at crunch time to score her team’s final four points.

First, she took the ball, pump-faked the world and spun down the baseline for the biggest basket of her career.

Second, in the moment we’re honoring, she softly dropped in two pressure-packed free throws with just seconds to play, icing the 46-42 win and launching the most successful multi-year run in school history in any sport.

And third, she cracked her trademark laid-back grin, then went on with her life, letting others have the spotlight while she moved on to bigger and better things like becoming a super-successful mom.

“It is a fond memory and one that I will treasure forever,” she told me for a story about the 1999-2000 team. “It holds a special place in my heart because of my teammates and our spectacular coaches, who put so much into helping us succeed as a team and as individuals.”

Succeeding as an individual while sacrificing for team was what our final inductee did every day she stepped on the pitch.

Whether playing for the Wolves or select squads like the Whidbey Islanders, LeVine, who joins dad Sean in the Hall, could do it all.

She could score, she could pass, and, while she’s but a mighty mite, there might have been no tougher player in Cow Town.

“Two Fists” got her nickname (I like nicknames…) when she responded to a teammate being roughed up in a badly-called, dangerous game by challenging the offending rival players AND the blind ref to take it outside.

Of course, in typical Micky fashion, five minutes after the game she was sitting on top of a garbage can at Baskin-Robbins, ice cream in hand, smile covering her face.

Soccer has a very short history at CHS (and no real record book), but LeVine is assured a spot on the program’s Mount Rushmore, front and center.

She brought skill, class and guts to the pitch for all four years, and her impact, like that of her fellow inductees, will be felt for years to come.

Read Full Post »


Paul Messner, the beast of the gridiron, circa 1965. (Photo from Messner family archives)

Santa and his three daughters (clockwoise from lower left) Christi, Barbi and Aimee.

Santa and daughters (clockwise from lower left) Christi, Barbi and Aimee.

Jump back to opening day from football season for a moment.

Coupeville was on the road, facing off with arch-rival South Whidbey down Langley way, and Jordan Ford, heir to a proud athletic tradition from both sides of his family, made an explosive debut as a Wolf.

Recovering a fumble, he took it to the house for a touchdown that, momentarily, put CHS ahead and turned the tide of the game.

While the play was called back, thanks to a Wolf blocker getting nailed with a penalty flag for an illegal hit, it was a signal that Ford, whose family had moved back to Whidbey for his senior year, would be a bright spot for Coupeville.

And he was, racking up fumble recoveries and sacks on defense, while doubling as one of Wolf quarterback Gabe Eck’s top targets.

In the stands that night, proudly watching his grandson play, was Coupeville’s answer to Santa Claus, the fun-lovin’ force of life known as Paul Messner.

The question is, how many others in the stands knew that the guy with the white beard and the mile-wide grin was once one of the best to ever stride the gridiron for the Wolves?

How many know about his senior year, when, exactly 50 years before his grandson’s heroics, Messner put together one of the most impressive campaigns in school history?

Santa was a Superman, and the 1965 season, which started in glory and ended in pain, is one of the great long-lost legends in Wolf sports history.

Pull up a chair and let me tell you about a different time, a time when legends walked the land.

Or, in Messner’s case, when they slammed head-long into the line, scattering would-be tacklers and tearing off huge chunks of yardage like a man possessed.

How scary was he? Other teams refused to play the Wolves after dark on their home field.

Well, OK, that may have been because the CHS football stadium didn’t have lights at the time … but, we’re sticking with the legend. Sounds better.

The ’65 Wolves were thin in numbers, but coach Terry Paoletti had a 5-foot-11, 180-pound battering ram in Messner and he used him often behind a line that included guys like Dick Bogardus, Fred Salmon, Jim Henry and my future landlord, Jack Sell.

Jim Faris operated under center, while Bill Losey joined Messner at halfback.

The spotlight quickly landed on Messner, a two-year letterman entering the season, who was tabbed as the team’s captain.

He erupted for 185 yards on 15 carries, while also snagging 13 tackles in Coupeville’s opening game, a narrow 22-12 loss at Darrington.

Newspaper accounts at the time talk about the Wolves struggling a bit to adapt to the “high altitude of the mountain town,” but that hardly slowed the two-way beast of Cow Town.

Bringing his game back down to the lowlands, Messner went on a rampage the next week, savaging Chimacum for 208 yards on 19 carries. He also accumulated 17 tackles as Coupeville throttled the Cowboys 21-6.

With Messner rolling, the Wolves ripped off two more wins the next two weeks, rising to #7 in the state polls.

Coupeville beat La Conner 12-0 (Messner rolled up 223 yards) and nipped Granite Falls 13-7 (Messner tallied 154 yards rushing and took a kickoff back 90 yards for a touchdown) and, at 3-1, was atop the Northwest B League standings.

The win over Granite Falls, which featured a Tiger, Dan Maik, being ejected for “non-official roughing” of Wolf Terry Hesselgesser, was probably the most thrilling of the season.

Unfortunately, with Hesselgesser going to the sidelines with an injury, it also signaled the beginning of the end for a CHS team that barely had enough bodies BEFORE injuries wreaked havoc on the roster.

In the moment, however, the win was epic, with Coupeville rallying from behind at home, in the daylight, with a mixture of trickery and grit.

Facing a punt at midfield, the Wolves pulled off a fake, with their kicker, Henry, — who was the Clay Reilly of the time, with a 67-yard punt to his credit — hitting Sell on a 25-yard pass.

Messner took it from there, carrying the ball three straight times, with the final coming on a bull-rush up the gut for the go-ahead score.

Even then, Coupeville needed a miracle at the end to escape.

Granite Falls drove to the Wolf three-yard line with four seconds to go, before Bogardus crashed through the line on the final play, hauling down the ball-carrier to end the game.

As the Wolves celebrated, however, the specter of the injuries to come hung heavy.

According to an on-the-scene report by Whidbey News-Times legend Wallie Funk, CHS student Jim Keith, a sideline volunteer, took a lineman’s pole to the noggin mid-game.

His head bleeding from the wound inflicted by the metal pole, Keith passed out. His mom, having rushed to the field, promptly fainted as well.

Keith’s dad grabbed his son and headed for the doctor’s office. Unfortunately, the doctor had been called and was en route to the stadium, and the two cars passed before anyone realized what was going on.

Everyone came out of the situation fairly dandy (the wound was bloody but superficial), but maybe it should have been a sign.

Halfway through the season, Messner had nearly 800 rushing yards, the Seattle papers were starting to pay attention and then … disaster.

Game five was a match-up against the Oak Harbor JV, and things took a nasty turn early when Messner went down with a kidney injury less than five minutes in.

Bogardus was the next to go, and the injuries mounted in the second half, a time when Oak Harbor, clinging to a 6-0 lead, apparently ran in varsity players to save face.

By the time the Wildcat “JV” had pulled off a 26-6 win, the season was effectively done for the Wolves.

Coupeville cancelled a scheduled game against the Snohomish JV, then, racked by injuries, fell to Chimacum and Darrington, finishing a game behind the Loggers for the league title.

Messner had 770 yards before the injury and gutted out 41 more in the scant time he was able to play afterwards, forever leaving Wolf fans to wonder “what if?”

Still, while the second half pain put a bit of a damper on the season, ’65 remains a landmark year in Wolf football history.

Ten seniors — Messner, Bogardus, Sell, Faris, Salmon, Gary Bass, Mike Thompson, Steve Wilson, Lee Milheim and Tom Kroon — went on a final run, that, even now, 50 years later, looms large.

It was a time of legends, two-way warriors led by a good-natured beast who would grow up to become Santa Claus.

Read Full Post »

(John Fisken photos)

   Hunter Downes (and his favorite garbage can) are here to lead the cheers. (John Fisken photos)


   Paul Messner (and his magnificent beard) hangs out with daughters Aimee Bishop (left) and Barbi Ford.

Kinga nd Smedley

   Wolf football coaches Ryan King (left) and Brett Smedley are just here for the photo ops.


   Coupeville Schools Superintendent Dr. Jim Shank and the real power behind the throne, youngest daughter Ashlie.


“I walk the line!” Sydney Autio’s papa is here to enforce the (volleyball) law.


   Sarah Wright’s parental units, Christine and Ron, happily endure another night sacrificing their rears to the rock-hard bleachers. It’s what proud parents do.


Zane Bundy (8) rallies the troops.

Wolf Buddies

   Which of these Wolf Buddies will one day be CHS athletic stars themselves? Probably all of them.

There are no more home games.

Well, at least for a few weeks.

Basketball is coming up strong on the outside, but, until then, the remaining fall contests for Coupeville High School are all on the road.

As the Wolf spikers head to Puyallup today for a district playoff game against Cascade Christian and the Coupeville gridiron squad preps for Friday’s finale at Vashon Island, one final look back at the home court advantage.

Wolf fans were loud and proud this fall, and the student section continued to regroup and bloom anew.

Look back in pride, then on to the next season, with the hope that Coupeville will pack the stands for its hoops squads.

Read Full Post »

Jordan Ford (John Fisken photo)

   Jordan Ford, crackin’ heads and making his mom happy by taking off his football helmet when the camera man wanders by. (John Fisken photo)

Tip your hat to Cow Town royalty.

The latest edition in a long-running legacy of excellence has his cake day today, so we all need to take a moment to wish a happy birthday to Jordan Ford.

#88, who can usually be seen on Friday nights blowing up opposing runners and making off with fumble recoveries, has been a huge positive addition to the Wolf football squad.

He’s been a huge positive edition to the whole school and town, for that matter.

And, while it would have been great to have gotten him back sooner, Coupeville fans will enjoy the year we’ll get.

A talented athlete, and a guy who just seems like a good, positive dude in all ways, Jordan is the heir to an impressive legacy.

Throw a rock (and not very hard) and you’ll hit someone in his family, and they all were stellar athletes during their time in the red and black.

His parents, David and Barbi, united the Fords and Messners, two families with long, hallowed traditions, and his bloodline includes everyone from Breeanna Messner to Aimee Bishop to Santa Claus (Paul Messner) himself.

It’s always great when Coupeville gets lucky and picks up a talented athlete, instead of losing another one. When they’re also a quality person, so much the better.

But it’s special when that athlete returns to the home of his forefathers to write another chapter in his family’s novel-length book.

Welcome home, Jordan, and happy birthday from all of us.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »