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Gavin Knoblich and Coupeville football face several new opponents this fall. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

First things first.

There is one way, and one way only, that Coupeville High School football can make the playoffs this fall.

The Wolves go 9-0 for the first time since 1990, or it’s regular season and done.

When CHS opted to bounce from the North Sound Conference for a season and play an independent schedule, school officials made the decision fully aware it closed off most avenues to the postseason.

That being said, Coupeville football hasn’t posted a winning record since going 6-5 in 2005.

Since then, there’s been a 5-5 finish in 2014 and 12 losing seasons.

So, maybe we won’t worry about the playoffs right now.

The biggest stumbling blocks for the Wolf gridiron program have been a lack of numbers, a lack of big bodies among those players actually on the field, and a whole lot of churn on the coaching staff.

Current CHS head man Marcus Carr is starting his second season and seems deeply committed, with a strong staff working at his side. That’s a definite positive.

Still, Coupeville has had five head coaches in the last decade, since Ron Bagby retired after 26 years at the helm of the program.

Part of the rebuilding process for Carr and school Athletic Director Willie Smith is trying to get the Wolves back on a semi-level playing field, allowing the program to grow.

All indications are that CHS will step down to 2B starting with the 2020-2021 school year, which is when new classification counts take effect.

Until then, taking a year off from league play, skipping King’s and Cedar Park Christian and company while allowing Smith to craft a (hopefully) more-favorable schedule, should help.

Looking at what awaits the Wolves this fall, it’s a schedule with four home games and five on the road.

Four games are against 2B schools, and three versus 1A institutions, plus one game apiece against 2A and 3A foes.

Five of the opponents, including the first four, are against schools Coupeville is familiar with. Then are four match-ups which will offer the Wolves a chance to experience new things.

To get you ready, we offer up a little breakdown of the schedule, game by game:

 

Friday-Sept. 6 — Port Townsend

Kickoff: 6 PM

Miles to travel: None

Classification: 1A

Coach: Patrick Gaffney

Mascot: RedHawks

2018 record: 4-6

Players on preseason roster: 20

Past history: Coupeville won 28-18 in last year’s season opener in Port Townsend. The teams have played numerous times, most notably when they were both in the Olympic League between 2014-2017.

Fun fact: Port Townsend and Chimacum combined for 130 points in a FOOTBALL game last season, with the RedHawks winning 79-51.

 

Friday-Sept. 13 — @ Vashon Island

Kickoff: 6 PM

Miles to travel: 73.6 miles

Classification: 1A

Coach: Clay Eastly

Mascot: Pirates

2018 record: 1-9

Players on preseason roster: 21

Past history: Coupeville won 13-0 last year on Whidbey. Wolves have beaten Pirates three straight seasons.

“Fun” fact: Last time Vashon beat CHS came in 2015 … when Pirate running back Bryce Hoisington went off for a state single-game record 573 rushing yards against the Wolves. He also broke the state single-season rushing mark, and, thankfully, has since graduated.

 

Friday-Sept. 20 — @ Friday Harbor

Kickoff: 6:30 PM

Miles to travel: 48.4

Classification: 2B

Coach: Brock Hauck

Mascot: Wolverines

2018 record: 6-3

Players on preseason roster: 19

Past history: Coupeville lost 17-0 last year on Whidbey. First time the schools clashed in several years, but they have been on and off again rivals over the decades.

Fun fact: Friday Harbor finished in a tie with Concrete for the Northwest League title last season, but lost a mini-playoff game 7-6. With a state playoff berth on the line, the difference turned out to be a heavily-disputed two-point conversion run, with the refs ruling Friday Harbor failed to break the goal line.

 

Friday-Sept. 27 — La Conner

Kickoff: 7 PM

Miles to travel: None

Classification: 2B

Coach: Peter Voorhees

Mascot: Braves

2018 record: 1-8

Players on preseason roster: 37

Past history: Coupeville won 33-12 at La Conner last year. Wolves have won two straight against one of their oldest rivals.

Fun fact: Has one of the best home-field National Anthem traditions in Washington state. As the singer finishes with “and the home of the brave,” La Conner football players raise their helmets and scream “Braves” in place of the final word.

 

Saturday-Oct. 5 — @ Kittitas

Kickoff: 3 PM

Miles to travel: 165.3

Classification: 2B

Coach: Dusty Hutchinson

Mascot: Coyotes

2018 record: 1-7

Players on preseason roster: Not available; no roster for last season listed, either.

Past history: Never played (as far as I know).

Fun fact: Won their third-straight boys basketball state title this past winter. Star guard Brock Ravet, who is headed to Gonzaga on a full-ride scholarship, finished his career as the state’s all-time leading scorer.

 

Friday-Oct. 11 — @ Northwest Christian

Kickoff: 7 PM

Miles to travel: 131.9 (School is in Lacey, but game at Tenino)

Classification: 2B

Coach: Mark Smith

Mascot: Wolverines

2018 record: Didn’t play

Players on preseason roster: Not available

Past history: New football program

Fun facts: Private school may not have a football history, but it’s a powerhouse in cross country, with the girls team winning nine straight state titles between 2006-2014.

School was the Navigators (with an alligator mascot known as … Navi the Gator), but are switching to Wolverines. To which I say, why, and, booooooooo.

Football coach Mark Smith is no newbie. He’s in the state hall of fame for track and field coaches, and won 174 games in 23 years as the football coach at Tacoma Baptist, taking that school to the state title game three times.

 

Fri-Oct. 18 — South Whidbey

Kickoff: 7 PM

Miles to travel: None

Classification: 1A

Coach: Mark Hodson

Mascot: Falcons

2018 record: 6-4

Players on preseason roster: Not available. Had 36 last season.

Past history: Coupeville lost 48-20 last year in Langley, allowing Falcons to regain possession of The Bucket. Wolves had won four of previous six clashes against their arch-rivals.

Fun fact: South Whidbey, which won just four games between 2014-2016, went the independent schedule route, and it paid off big time.

Playing 2B and Canadian schools, Falcons rebounded with a 7-2 record, then carried that over into 2018, when they joined the new North Sound Conference.

 

Fri-Oct. 25 — Anacortes

Kickoff: TBA

Miles to travel: None

Classification: 2A

Coach: Chris Hunter

Mascot: Seahawks

2018 record: 0-9

Players on preseason roster: Not available. Had 31 last season.

Past history: Haven’t played football against each other in decades. Used to be a rivalry back when players wore leather helmets.

Fun fact: Anacortes has lost 13 straight games. Seahawks last tasted victory the night of Sept. 29, 2017, when they beat Blaine 36-30.

 

Fri-Nov. 1 — @ Interlake

Kickoff: 7 PM

Miles to travel: 58.6 (Bellevue)

Classification: 3A

Coach: Shawn Hartline

Mascot: Saints

2018 record: 2-7

Players on preseason roster: 45

Past history: Have never played (as far as I know).

Fun fact: Famous alumni included baseball legend John Olerud, as well as musicians Nancy Wilson (Heart), and Chris DeGarmo (Queensrÿche).

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Claire Mayne and her fellow CMS track and field stars are set to kick off a new season next month. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

On to the next sport!

Middle school girls basketball ended less than 24 hours ago, and already we’re looking ahead to the next season, as Coupeville’s 7th and 8th graders head outside in a few weeks.

CMS track and field kicks off practice Apr. 9, with the first meet set for five weeks from today.

The schedule, as it sits today:

 

Wed-Apr. 24 — @King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 1 — HOME vs. S. Whidbey, King’s (3:15)
Wed-May 8 — HOME vs. Sultan/Lakewood (3:15)
Thur-May 16 — @Sultan (3:30)
Wed-May 22 — @South Whidbey (3:15)
Tue-May 28 — @Lakewood (League Prelims) (3:15)
Thur-May 30 — @Lakewood (League Finals) (3:15)

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Gwen Gustafson and Co. will soon be back for another season of wheelin’, dealin’ and droppin’ buckets. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

You have six weeks to get your affairs in order.

And to figure out where your laminating machine is hidden.

We’re in the thick of high school basketball right now, but Coupeville Middle School girls hoops is on its way.

The first day of practice arrives Jan. 22, and the first game hits Feb. 7 – hence the six-week warning.

The 10-game schedule (ready to be printed out, laminated and attached to your frig):

Thur-Feb. 7 — South Whidbey
Tues-Feb. 12 — @King’s
Thur-Feb. 14 — Sultan
Wed-Feb. 20 — @Granite Falls
Thur-Feb. 21 — Lakewood
Tues-Feb. 26 — @Northshore Christian
Tues-Mar. 5 — @South Whidbey
Thur-Mar. 7 — King’s
Tues-Mar. 12 — @Sultan
Thurs-Mar. 14 — Granite Falls

All home games start at 3:15 PM.

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Logan Martin has moved on to high school ball this year, but a new Coupeville Middle School boys hoops season draws near. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It’s never too soon to talk about basketball.

Fall sports are still in full swing, yes, but the first round-ball team to hit the court, Coupeville Middle School boys basketball, opens practice Oct. 22, just two weeks from today.

And two weeks after that first practice, comes the first game.

So, as hoops fanatics count down the days (high school basketball practice kicks off Nov. 12, with MS girls hoops starting up in Jan.), here’s a look at the CMS boys basketball schedule.

All home games, with both 7th and 8th grade action, start at 3:15 PM.

 

Schedule:

Monday-Nov. 5 King’s
Thursday-Nov. 8 @Northshore Christian
Tuesday-Nov. 13 Sultan
Thur-Nov. 15 @Granite Falls
Tues-Nov. 27 Lakewood
Thur-Nov. 29 @King’s
Tues-Dec. 4 Northshore Christian
Thur-Dec. 6 @Sultan
Tues-Dec. 11 @South Whidbey
Thur-Dec. 13 Granite Falls

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   A mere six months until Friday Night Lights return to the prairie. (David Stern photo)

Is 198 days before the first game too early to talk about the Coupeville High School football schedule?

Of course not.

Sure, the Wolves don’t even have a head coach right now, as Athletic Director Willie Smith conducts a search to replace the departed Jon Atkins.

The plan is to have a new gridiron boss in place by May, one whose career track will more closely emulate former coach Ron Bagby (25+ years) than the four guys who have combined to deliver eight seasons since Bags retired.

But, while we wait for that announcement, the Wolf football schedule has popped up online, and it reflects a mix of the past with the future.

To get right to it, this is what’s planned as of today, with (*) marking league games in the new North Sound Conference.

Aug. 31 @ Port Townsend — (6:00)
Sept. 7 Vashon Island — (6:00)
Sept. 14 Friday Harbor — (TBD)
Sept. 21 @ La Conner — (7:00)
Sept. 28 King’s (*) — (7:00)
Oct. 5 Sultan (*) — (7:00)
Oct. 12 @ South Whidbey (*) — (7:00)
Oct. 19 @ Cedar Park Christian (*) — (7:00)
Oct. 26 Granite Falls (*) — (7:00)

First things first, it’s a nine-game schedule, and not 10 games as it was the past two seasons when CHS played as part of the Olympic/Nisqually League hybrid.

Week #10 will play out in one of three ways for Coupeville football.

Finish in the top two in their six-team league and they are playoff-bound.

Miss the postseason but finish third or fourth and the Wolves get a season-ending crossover game with either the #3 or #4 school from the 1A division of the Northwest Conference.

That four-team league features Meridian, Nooksack Valley, Mount Baker and Lynden Christian.

The schools which finish fifth and sixth in the North Sound Conference football standings will be given an option of playing a crossover game against another non-playoff team.

If they choose to do so, it will be up to their AD’s to find an opponent.

A major plus is the schedule has CHS playing five games at home, and six on Whidbey.

The only road trips are short hops to Port Townsend and La Conner and a little bit longer one (47.2 miles) to Bothell.

Which, I’d like to point out, is still six miles shorter than a trip to Silverdale to face Klahowya has been the past four years.

The season kicks off with rematches with the RedHawks and Pirates, though this time they will be non-conference foes.

Then comes back-to-back tilts with a pair of Northwest 2B League schools who would have been new league mates if the WIAA had approved Coupeville’s bid to drop from 1A to 2B.

After that, the heart of the season is five league games as Coupeville and its compatriots open play in their new league.

It’s not marked yet, but Homecoming likely falls either Sept. 28 or Oct. 5.

After several years of opening the season against South Whidbey, the annual battle for The Bucket, which Coupeville has won two years straight, now drops much deeper into the season.

Add the intrigue of it being a league game again, and the stakes are just that much higher.

Some may ask why Coupeville immediately returns to Langley in 2018 after playing there in 2017, but that’s because a new league, and the two-year schedule that comes with it, just happens to break down that way.

The Falcons will fly to Cow Town in 2019.

While the Wolves will be a different team this fall, having lost a number of key seniors and facing a coaching change, they match-up well with their proposed foes.

Coupeville went 3-1 against teams from this schedule in 2017, beating La Conner, Vashon and South Whidbey, while falling to Port Townsend.

Eight of the nine teams the Wolves are scheduled to play in 2018 had losing records in 2017, including, yes, King’s, which finished 3-7.

The lone school coming off of a winning season is South Whidbey, and that comes with a caveat, as the Falcons, taking a year off from the 1A/2A Cascade Conference to rebuild their program, ran the table against much-smaller teams.

After absorbing losses to fellow 1A schools Coupeville and Chimacum to open, the Falcons won their final seven while facing 2B schools and a Canadian program playing football for the first time.

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