Posts Tagged ‘playoffs’

Shane Losey, one of 10 Coupeville football seniors, played strongly at QB Thursday in a season-closing loss. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Very few football players get to end their season, or career, with a win.

For the rest, it comes down to being able to hold your head high as you walk off the field, knowing you fought until the final play, the final seconds ticking off the scoreboard.

Coupeville High School’s gridiron squad didn’t get the Hollywood ending Thursday, falling 35-0 to visiting Granite Falls.

But the Wolves, and their 10 seniors — six in uniform, four out with injuries — have nothing to hang their heads about.

They finished 3-6 overall, 0-5 in a very-competitive North Sound Conference, but the record doesn’t tell the entire tale.

Coupeville started with a thin roster, was depleted by injuries, and was playing for its third head coach in four years.

Yet the Wolves beat arch-nemesis Port Townsend, thumped Vashon Island and La Conner, and came within a play or two of upending King’s.

The new coaching staff, led by Marcus Carr, made inroads and seems in it for the long haul, potentially providing the stability the CHS gridiron program has lacked in recent years.

“This is a good group of guys; I’ll miss the seniors, but we’ll continue to build on what we have,” Carr said. “It hurts when you have a good group and they don’t get to have the success you hope for, but we showed outstanding fight a lot of times this season.

“We got off to a little bit of a late start this year, but we’ll be ready to go right away next season, from spring ball all the way,” he added. “I’m already looking forward to next season.”

Coupeville’s main offensive weapon, Sean Toomey-Stout, who scored 10 of his team’s 17 touchdowns, is just a junior, the same as starting QB Dawson Houston, and two-way terrors like Andrew Martin and Gavin Knoblich.

Toss in lineman Gavin St Onge, urban legend Gavin Straub, and Derek Leyva, who started as a kicker with a booming leg, then morphed into a dangerous receiver and rusher, and next year’s seniors will form a solid core.

Facing off with Granite Falls, which clinched the fourth and final NSC playoff berth with the win, the young guns and their senior teammates hung tough even while missing multiple two-way starters.

Coupeville stuffed the Tigers on their opening possession, using big defensive plays from seniors Ryan Labrador and Shane Losey, to bend but not break on a 14-play drive.

A string of penalties on that drive, called on both teams, set the tone for a game in which the refs took great delight in tossing little yellow flags with wild abandon.

While the Wolf defense was firing hot, the CHS offense came out a bit cold, however, failing to get a first down until early in the second quarter.

Coupeville got stung when an interception on its own nine-yard line set up Granite’s first score, a pass over the middle from freshman QB Ryan Gese to Mason McBride with two minutes left in the opening quarter.

The Tigers added a four-yard TD dash and another aerial scoring hookup, this one covering 17 yards, to stretch the lead out to 21-0 at the half, while CHS had trouble responding.

Leyva finally cracked the first-down barrier for Coupeville, plunging over the left side on a second-and-one to move the chains, but the Wolves lost Houston, who went to the sideline with a possible concussion.

Without their starting signal caller working under center, Coupeville swapped out Losey, and he hooked up with Toomey-Stout on the most thrilling play of the night.

Facing third-and-eight and pinned at their own 20, the Wolves went to the air, with Losey zipping a pass over a defender’s head.

That allowed “The Torpedo” to stretch out, yank the rapidly falling ball out of the air, then tumble end over end, eventually coming to a rest with a pretty, pretty 32-yard gain.

Racing the halftime clock, Coupeville put together its best drive of the game, using Toomey-Stout’s snag and two Granite penalties to get all the way to the Tiger 15-yard line.

But it wasn’t to be, as the potential TD pass to the right side narrowly fell short on the final play of the half.

The Wolves moved the ball well in the second half, getting bull runs from Martin, quick scampers by Leyva, smooth scrambles from Losey and Toomey-Stout doing his usual “it’ll take five guys to bring me down” act every time he had the ball.

Proving to be a multi-faceted weapon, “The Torpedo” also took a direct snap, then slid a left-handed pass through a thicket of trees, hitting Dane Lucero for an 18-yard pickup.

Through it all, the Wolf line, powered by vets like Labrador, Matt Stevens and Alex Turner, cleared space for the skills players.

But getting in the end zone proved elusive for CHS, with a pick ending one drive, and failures to convert on fourth-down ending everything else.

Even with Granite tacking on a pair of third-quarter touchdowns, the Wolves refused to take a knee.

Cam Dahl blew up a Tiger runner on one play, while Toomey-Stout and Martin went for 10+ yards on their final carries of the season, which came on back-to-back plays.

Afterwards, as Granite exited, Carr and his coaches brought their players together in the middle of the field.

What they said is their own thing, but it was obvious the Wolf coaches were still doing what their title implies – coaching – and you can’t ask for anything more.

Some of the departing Wolves will never play a competitive football game again. One or two seniors have expressed interest in making a bid to play college ball.

The underclassmen face a moment when they can, and should, embrace the opportunity in front of them.

Commit to work as hard as Toomey-Stout, their low-key but passionate leader, in and out of the weight room, and future seasons could have a different finish.

The end comes for all football players, yes, but how that end comes, and how you handle it, rests with each guy who pulls on a uniform.

By the end Thursday, the numbers were small, but the hearts were large.

Read Full Post »

CHS football players like Alex Turner are still alive for a playoff berth. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Improbable, but not impossible.

Despite losing its first four league games, the Coupeville High School football team is still in the running for a playoff berth entering the final week of the regular season.

While the top three slots are clinched, the fourth, and final, spot is a three-way battle between the Wolves, Granite Falls and Sultan, and the scrap could go into overtime.

As we head towards the regular season finale Oct. 26, here’s what we know.


Final games:

Granite Falls (1-3) at Coupeville (0-4)

King’s (3-1) at South Whidbey (3-1)

Cedar Park Christian (4-0) at Sultan (1-3)


Who’s in:

CPC is the league champ and #1 seed, while King’s and South Whidbey play for the #2 and #3 berths.


The battle for #4:

If Granite beats Coupeville, it gets the final berth. The Tigers would have two wins, and even if Sultan also won, own a tiebreaker on the Turks, having beat them.

If Granite loses and Sultan upsets CPC, the Turks, with two wins, get the final berth.

If Coupeville wins and Sultan loses, it’s a three-way tie, with all three teams having one league win, and having won, and lost, against one of the teams they’re tied with.


So, if it’s a three-way tie, what happens:

Coupeville, Sultan and Granite meet Saturday, Oct. 27. Early word is the royal rumble would go down in Granite, and start time hasn’t been announced.

Depending on a blind draw, teams #1 and #2 would play one half of a game.

Loser is done, and exits the stadium on their way to a week #10 cross-over game with another non-playoff team.

Winner stays on to play a second half against team #3, with winner of that game getting the playoff berth.


So, you’re a playoff team:

The #4 seed out of the North Sound Conference, however they get there, hosts a loser-out playoff game Tuesday, Oct. 30 at 7 PM against the #3 seed from the Northwest Conference (likely Lynden Christian).

Win and you advance to a loser-out, winner-to-state game on the road either Nov. 2 or 3 against Cedar Park Christian.


The playoff bracket:


Read Full Post »

CHS volleyball coaches Chris Smith (left) and Cory Whitmore are primed for a long playoff run. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Playoffs? We’re definitely talking about the playoffs.

As we slide into the second half of Oct., the end of regular season play for high school fall sports fast approaches, and that means the postseason can’t be too far behind.

While there are still about a thousand different ways this could all play out (give or take one or two dozen), here’s what I think I know as of today.


Boys Tennis:

Coupeville wraps its regular season at home today, Wednesday, Oct. 17, hosting Eastside Prep on Senior Night.

After that, the Wolves send two singles players and two doubles teams to the Emerald City League tourney Oct. 19 at the Amy Yee Tennis Center in Seattle.

This is the only sport in which CHS doesn’t compete as a member of the North Sound Conference, as only two of the league’s six teams (Coupeville and South Whidbey) play boys tennis.

So, instead, the Wolf and Falcon netters jumped out of District 1 and linked up with the ECL, which is comprised of private schools from District 2.

It’s a brutal eight-team league filled to the brim with state title contenders, mainly from juggernauts Seattle Academy, Overlake and University Prep, so the chances any Whidbey players advance to districts Oct. 20 is slim.

But you never know. An injury here, a torrid run on the court there, and miracles can, and do, happen.


Cross country:

The next three Saturdays will tell the tale of who the top harriers in the state are.

Coupeville runs at the North Sound Conference Championships in Lakewood Oct. 20 (minus sophomore Catherine Lhamon, who is the sixth-fastest female in the league, but also rehabbing an injury), then competes at bi-districts at South Whidbey Oct. 27.

The top 36 boys and 42 girls at that second race, which combines District 1 (North Sound Conference and Northwest Conference) with District 2 (Emerald City League), advance to the state meet Nov. 3 in Pasco.

Wolf senior Danny Conlisk is seeking his second-straight trip to the big dance, while Lhamon is expected to be back and ready to go in time for districts.




This is where CHS has the biggest up-hill battle.

The Wolves sit at 0-3 in league play, with two games to go, which leaves them a game off of Granite Falls (1-2) and Sultan (1-2) in the quest for the league’s fourth and final playoff berth.

If Coupeville finishes strongly and edges the Tigers and Turks, it will host a loser-out playoff game Oct. 30 against the #3 seed from the NWC, which is currently Lynden Christian.

Win that rumble and the Wolves travel to the home of the #1 NWC seed (Mount Baker and Meridian are currently tied) to play for a spot in the 16-team state tourney.

If the postseason doesn’t happen, there are two scenarios for a week #10 non-playoff game to wrap the season.

Finish #5 in the league standings, and Coupeville gets a cross-over game on the road with the #4 team from the NWC, currently Nooksack Valley.

Remain as the #6 NSC squad and it’s up to CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith to scramble and find another non-playoff team interested in picking up an extra game.

If that happens, the game could be home or away, depending on what’s worked out.

The football playoff bracket:



Girls Soccer:

Heading into the regular-season finale at Granite Falls Wednesday, the Wolves are tied with Sultan for the #5 playoff seed, but own a tiebreaker thanks to an extra point picked up for going to double-overtime in one of their league losses.

If something hinky happens, and the Turks make up that point, without slipping past Coupeville, the teams would stage a play-in game on the turf in Sultan Oct. 20 to decide who moves on, and who’s done.

More likely, if things hold as they are, the Wolves nab the last slot and open the modified double-elimination district playoffs Oct. 22 on the road with a loser-out game against the NSC #3 seed, most likely South Whidbey.

Upset their Island neighbors (or Granite Falls, if things fall that way) and Coupeville is guaranteed at least two more playoff games Oct. 24 and 27, needing just one win to advance to bi-districts, which run Oct. 30-Nov. 3.

The soccer playoff bracket:




The sport where Coupeville holds the strongest position, having already clinched a playoff berth.

The Wolves, who are sitting in second place at 5-2 with three games to go, still have a (long) shot to upend defending state champ King’s (7-0) and claim the league crown, and can finish no lower than fourth in the regular season standings.

Districts are Oct. 27 and 30, are double-elimination, and will kick four of eight teams on to bi-districts Nov. 3.

The first day of districts plays out at two sites, with the #1 seeds from the NSC (currently King’s) and NWC (Lynden Christian) hosting four-team brackets. The second day of districts is at Lynden Christian.

The volleyball playoff bracket:


Read Full Post »

Senior hurler Katrina McGranahan will carry the softball into the pitcher’s circle for Coupeville at districts this weekend. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Two wins from Richland.

That’s where the Coupeville High School softball team finds itself, as it preps for this weekend’s four-team, double-elimination district tourney.

Capture two victories without taking two losses, and the Wolves punch their ticket to the state tourney, earning a trip back to Eastern Washington.

The last time CHS softball went to the big dance was 2014, in David King’s final season as coach.

Now, after coming within a single strike of getting there last season, the Wolves are back to make another run under Kevin McGranahan, and with a little better set-up than a year ago.

Then, they faced a loser-out game in the first round, had to play game two mere seconds after game one finished and were on the diamond for four games in less than 24 hours.

This time around, Coupeville is guaranteed two games (and a decent break in the middle) Friday, and will only play one game, if any, Saturday.

A look at all the pertinent details:


The bracket:



The location:

Lacey-Thurston County Regional Athletic Complex
8345 Steilacoom Road SE
Lacey, WA



Admission prices:

Adults and students w/o ASB — $8
Students (with ASB) — $5
Elementary (under 12) — $4
Senior citizens (62+) — $5
Preschool (with parent) — free


Team capsules:



Season record: 11-7

League finish: #1 in Olympic League

Run differential: 169-108

Record vs. district tourney foes: 3-1 (3-0 vs Klahowya, 0-1 vs Vashon)

Coach: Kevin McGranahan

Mascot: Wolves

Last trip to state: 2014

Best finish at state: 3rd in 2002



Season record: 15-5

League finish: #1 in Nisqually League

Run differential: 189-95

Record vs. district tourney foes: 3-1 (all vs Vashon)

Coach: Ryan Kelly

Mascot: Vikings

Last trip to state: 2017

Best finish at state: 3rd in 2016



Season record: 10-6

League finish: #2 in Olympic League

Run differential: 111-73

Record vs. district tourney foes: 1-3 (0-3 vs Coupeville, 1-0 vs Vashon)

Coach: Jodie Gagnon

Mascot: Eagles

Last trip to state: 2004

Best finish at state: Never placed; won one game in 2003 tourney



Season record: 8-10

League finish: #2 in Nisqually League

Run differential: 131-145

Record vs. district tourney foes: 2-4 (1-3 vs BC, 1-0 vs Coupeville, 0-1 vs Klahowya)

Coach: Heather Jurs

Mascot: Pirates

Last trip to state: 1991 (slow-pitch)

Best finish at state: Lost both games they played in ’91

Read Full Post »

   Jake Hoagland steps to the plate during Thursday’s playoff game in Tacoma. (Jim Hoagland photos)

   Wolf hurler Matt Hilborn, looking very much like a man who probably just stuffed his pockets full of seeds.

A bump in the road.

One bad inning Thursday brought a momentary pause to the joy ride the Coupeville High School baseball team is enjoying this season.

But it doesn’t have to be fatal.

A momentary lapse or two in the second inning allowed Bellevue Christian to pile up all the runs it would need for a 4-1 win, giving the Vikings (13-6) the district title and a berth to the state tourney.

The playoff loss, coming on a neutral field in Tacoma, snaps Coupeville’s eight-game winning streak. Only the second defeat in the last 14 games for the Wolves, it drops them to 15-5.

But hope still burns brightly.

CHS heads back to Tacoma Saturday to play Charles Wright Academy (11-6) at Curtis High School. First pitch is scheduled for 1 PM.

The Tarriers stayed alive Thursday by eliminating Chimacum 5-0 in a loser-out game.

Coupeville destroyed CWA 10-0 in six innings the last time the two teams faced … which was Tuesday in the opening game of the playoffs.

Recreate that magic Saturday and the Wolf baseball program returns to state for the first time since 2014.

CHS had momentum coming in to the district title game and jumped on BC for a run in the top of the first.

Playing as the visiting team, the Wolves put lead-off hitter Matt Hilborn on board thanks to a single, then brought him around to score three batters later.

Julian Welling, the human RBI machine, plunked a run-scoring base-knock and everything looked like it was clicking for Coupeville.

Unfortunately, those two early hits were almost everything CHS got off of BC pitcher Daniel Teramato.

Once he escaped the first inning, the Viking hurler limited the Wolves to just two more hits the rest of the way, using just 71 pitches to blitz through seven innings.

And it was Teramato who delivered the game’s defining offensive moment as well, cracking a two-run double to cap a four-run explosion in the bottom of the second.

Bellevue mixed in a couple of timely hits with a walk or two and a key Coupeville error, then its offense also went fairly dry the rest of the way.

Wolf junior pitcher Matt Hilborn shut down the bleeding in the second by getting all three outs via whiffs, half of his six K’s on the day.

From that point until he handed the ball to reliever Dane Lucero late in the bottom of the sixth, Hilborn limited the Vikings to just two more hits.

The problem is, after playing flawless ball in every aspect of the game in their district playoff opener, the Wolves were not quite perfect against BC.

Coupeville racked up four errors in the field, four more than it committed against Charles Wright, and left what few base-runners it had hanging out to dry.

The Wolves got a runner aboard in the third on an error, only to see him erased in a double play.

After that, CHS left a man on base in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings.

The hardest to take came in the fifth, after Jake Pease launched a lead-off double to spark hopes of a Wolf comeback.

Instead, he was taken down on his way in to third on a fielder’s choice, and then the next two batters hit the ball straight at fielders for fly outs.

Coupeville only lost the hit parade battle 5-4, with Hilborn, Welling, Hunter Smith and Pease having base-knocks, but Teramato closed strongly, retiring eight of the final nine Wolf hitters.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »