Posts Tagged ‘Scott Hilborn’

Chase Anderson brings the heat. (Morgan White photos)

With a click-click here, and a click-click there, Morgan White delivers the goods.

The Wolf mom/school board director/baseball junkie was on the road Thursday, and snapped the pics seen above and below as Coupeville’s hardball heroes faced off with Meridian.

Scott Hilborn streaks for home.

Peyton Caveness waits for the pitch.

Johnny Porter enjoys his afternoon.

Jonathan Valenzuela drops the hammer.

Aiden O’Neill aims for the fence.

Cole White (left) and Landon Roberts bask in the (chilly) afternoon sun.

The moment before it all happens.

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Wolf junior Peyton Caveness is a key returning player for CHS baseball. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

They’re chasing that state tourney dream.

The Coupeville High School baseball team came within a play here, a play there of earning the 10th trip to the big dance in program history last spring.

But it wasn’t to be, as the Wolves, coming off of a regular-season Northwest 2B/1B League title, fell 3-2 to Friday Harbor in a winner-to-state, loser-out playoff game.

Jump forward a year, flip out coaches, with former assistant Steve Hilborn taking the reins after Will Thayer’s move to Vegas, and Coupeville is back on the chase.

The Wolves lost five players to graduation, including league MVP Hawthorne Wolfe and All-League picks Xavier Murdy and Cody Roberts.

But Steve Hilborn can still put together a rock-solid lineup which is anchored by All-League players Scott Hilborn and Jonathan Valenzuela and features a wealth of talented young stars.

Some of the names may be different, but the job remains the same.

“Simple, sweep Friday Harbor, win league, go to state,” was Steve Hilborn’s reply when asked about goals.

The schools, which split two regular-season games last spring, are set to play three times this year.

Game #1, on Friday Harbor, is Mar. 28, while the Wolverines travel to Coupeville Apr. 18. Things wrap up May 4 back on Friday Harbor for the regular-season finale.

While that three-game series will likely dictate who wins the league title, Steve Hilborn is not looking past anyone in the seven-team NWL.

“Friday Harbor is the obvious one – I don’t believe they lost too many seniors from last year,” he said.

“But also Mount Vernon Christian, and Orcas had some good young talent and might surprise some teams this year.”

Steve Hilborn expects pitching to be his team’s biggest strength, with seniors Scott Hilborn and Valenzuela teaming up with freshman Chase Anderson to form the core of the staff.

While Anderson is only a fab frosh, he already has extensive varsity experience, having been a starting infielder and pitching for the Wolves as an 8th grader.

“The Magic Man” was the backup QB for the Wolf varsity football team as a freshman, leading the team in the second half of its state playoff game, and was a key member of the CHS varsity boys’ basketball squad.

“I think our pitching will be solid with our three main starters,” Steve Hilborn said. “I don’t think it’s just nepotism, but Scott was a huge part of all aspects of our game last year and we’ll need him to anchor the pitching staff this year.

“I expect Jon and Chase to be our other two main starters, with a few other players carrying the remaining load.”

First-Team All-Conference player Scott Hilborn is back for his senior season.

The team’s biggest question mark is likely behind the plate, with the team having lost the always-steady Murdy.

“Catcher is going to be a huge void to fill with Xavier gone,” Steve Hilborn said.

“We are looking at Peyton (Caveness) and Jon for that spot with Johnny (Porter) in there as well.”

The Wolves would love to see their offense kick things into gear, taking some of the pressure off of their pitching staff. Not every game has to be a low-run thriller.

“When it comes to offense you never know who might surprise you,” Steve Hilborn said. “Cole (White) and Peyton came through with some clutch hits last year and we expect more of that this year.

“Little too early to tell, but historically we haven’t hit that consistently and we want to change that,” he added. “We want every at-bat to have a plan and an approach.

“We might still strike out in a good battle, but, if we follow our approach and don’t flail away at three bad pitches, it can still be a win.”

The first day of practice attracted a solid group of young players, though the Wolves are still interested in adding bodies. At the 2B level, that can include 8th graders.

“We have quite a few freshmen, several of which played as 8th graders last year,” Steve Hilborn said. “At the first practice we had three new faces — Jayme Carranza, Parker Fuller-Hewitt, and David Dominici.

“We would like a few more players to fill out two teams, and we would love some 8th graders if any are interested.”

However the roster breaks down, the Wolves and their new head coach aim to bring a smile to the faces of old-school fans.

“We want to be the team of details,” Steve Hilborn said. “To do the little things right that add up to runs at the plate, outs on defense, and eventually wins.”

Steve Hilborn plots strategy.

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Wolf seniors Kai Wong (left) and Dominic Coffman hug it out. (Becky Terry photo)

“They gave their town something to be proud of.”

Bennett Richter’s first year as the head football coach at Coupeville High School is one to remember, as he and his squad put together the best run the program has witnessed in 32 seasons.

Which is why, as he hugged his players and thanked them in the cold November air Saturday night, a season-ending loss in the first round of the 2B state playoffs offered a mixture of happiness and sadness for the gridiron guru.

Facing perennial powerhouse Onalaska on the turf at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium, the Wolves were doomed by a variety of things in a 30-14 defeat in a game much closer than the score might sound.

A bad bounce here, a call or two which could have gone either way there, and the loss of starting quarterback Logan Downes to a knee injury with the game tied late in the third quarter conspired to deny Coupeville.

Onalaska, which won a state title as recently as 2019, advances to the quarterfinals to face undefeated Okanogan next weekend, while the Wolves finish at 7-2.

That’s the most wins for a CHS gridiron team since the 1990 team went 9-1, which, not coincidentally, was the last time the program won a league title and earned a trip to the state tourney.

Ron Bagby (left) and Jason McFadyen, Coupeville’s coach and starting QB the last time the Wolves were in the state playoffs. (Photo courtesy McFadyen)

Jump forward three decades, or 11,691 days, if we’re counting, and Coupeville football was back in the big dance.

Riding a six-game winning streak, the Wolves earned a “home” playoff game, meaning they travelled just 10 miles up the road to O-Town, while Onalaska bumped and bounced on the bus for close to 200 miles one way.

Richter’s first playoff game as a head coach came on the same field where he played the final two years of his own prep career for Oak Harbor High School.

Both teams came prepared to slug it out, bodies slamming into bodies, uppercuts mixing with jabs. It was an old-fashioned, rock-em, sock-em brawl, just the way the game was designed to be played.

Coupeville got first crack at the ball, mixing up its play-calling with Logan Downes zipping 10 and 15-yard passes to Hunter Bronec and Tim Ursu, respectively.

But a big sack on third-and-nine forced a Wolf punt, and Onalaska went on a 17-play, 88-yard drive which ended with Rodrigo Rodriguez crashing into the end zone from three yards out.

The Wolf defense stiffened, denying the Loggers on a two-point conversion run, but a pattern was set with Onalaska running, running some more, then running another billion times while keeping the clock ticking away.

CHS wasn’t backing down, however, and it reclaimed the lead on its second drive.

Back-to-back penalties on Onalaska got things rolling, while Ursu made a phenomenal snag on a fourth-down pass while bouncing all of his body off the turf.

With the Logger defense back on its heels, Scott Hilborn burst through the line, veered to the left sideline and outran the defense on a 14-yard scoring run, knotting things at 6-6 with 9:47 left in the half.

A booming PAT kick from Daylon Houston gave Coupeville its one and only lead of the game at 7-6, but Rodriguez punched in a one-yard scoring run two minutes later to push the visitors back in front.

This time the Loggers were successful on their conversion play to push the margin to 14-7.

Wolf lineman Josh Upchurch and his biggest lil’ fan. (Brittany Kolbet photo)

With the ball back in their hands, the Wolves put together a stellar drive which, unfortunately, ended in heartbreak.

Downes was operating at peak performance, threading a 14-yard pass to Hilborn through a forest of defender arms, while also juking a Logger defender out of his shoes on a 19-yard quarterback scramble.

Toss in a face mask penalty on Onalaska and several smash-mouth runs from Dominic Coffman, shedding tacklers by knocking them on their butts, and the Wolves were headed for the tying score.

And it looked like they got it, until the refs said no, no, no.

Downes pegged a pass to the left on third-and-goal from the seven-yard line, and in the resulting explosion of bodies, the ball came loose.

Had the Wolf receiver already crossed the line, as Coupeville coaches argued?

Or did the ball pop free before the six points were official, allowing Onalaska to pounce on it for a touchback?

The refs ruled the latter, and it stung badly for the Wolves.

Hilborn did his best to make sure the score would stay at 14-7, bringing down a runner behind the line for a solid loss, then skying high to poke away a potential touchdown pass on the final play of the half.

Still, Onalaska had the lead, and would receive the opening second-half kickoff. Coupeville needed to make a stand.

And boy howdy, did the Wolves, as they forced, and recovered fumbles on three straight possessions.

Two of those came on on-side kicks, the ball skittering off of Loggers and being snatched up by Coupeville’s rampaging pack of hit-happy defenders.

The Wolves converted the second of those turnovers into a game-tying touchdown, with Downes hitting Hilborn on a 25-yard pass, before Coffman blew through the line on his way for a 19-yard jaunt to the end zone.

The third of those fumble recoveries seemingly shifted the momentum firmly to Coupeville, only for tragedy to strike.

Downes connected with Ursu on another big pass play only to be smushed while scrambling three plays later.

The ball popped free, was recovered by Onalaska, but then popped free a second time thanks to a wicked hit from a Wolf defender at the goal line and looked like it had been recovered by Coupeville.

Instead, the refs ruled the Loggers retained possession, which set them up with a first-and-goal at the two-yard line.

Enter Mr. Rodriguez, who bowled over the Wolf defense with what would prove to be the winning score.

While Onalaska’s splendid sophomore celebrated a three-touchdown game, the mood was much more somber on Coupeville’s side of the field.

Downes spent the game’s final 16 minutes on the sideline, his knee wrapped in ice, with freshman QB Chase Anderson making a sudden, unexpected playoff debut against a fired-up Logger defense.

After throwing just 10 passes during the regular season, the young gun held up well in the spotlight, hitting a 20-yard pass to Ursu late in the game and showing fleet feet on scrambles.

But the Onalaska defense was stout and stingy, and it held at the most-important moment of the game.

After almost bending too far.

Coupeville, trailing 22-14 and facing third-and-12 from its own three-yard line late in the fourth quarter, pulled off a play which had, in the words of CHS Athletic Director Willie Smith, “both the razzle and the dazzle.”

Anderson flipped the ball to Ursu, who dropped a pass over the defense and into the long arms of Bronec, who weaved back and forth for 54 yards before finally being brought down from behind.

Add in that previously mentioned 20-yard bomb from Anderson to Ursu, and a shorter, but still very key pass to Houston, and the Wolves were in business.

Until Onalaska stiffened, denying Coupeville on a third-down plunge from the one-yard line, on a play which got more damaging after the refs dinged the Wolves for unsportsmanlike conduct.

A questionable call, that shoved CHS back to the 18-yard line, and an interception on the next play put a cap on things.

Don’t stop believin’. (Becky Terry photo)

Or so it seemed, until the Wolves quickly forced a three-and-out, got the ball back with less than two minutes to play, and went for the tie one more time.

Anderson alertly scrambled away from the defense to get Coupeville to midfield, but a holding penalty on the Wolves two plays later hurt.

Onalaska finally slammed the door shut with just 48 ticks on the clock thanks to a pick-six from Case McGraw, sending Logger fans to the parking lot with an extra skip to their steps.

While the loss ends Coupeville’s season, the 2022 campaign was a huge step forward for a program which failed to post a winning record between 2006-2018.

The coach who ended that skid in 2019, Marcus Carr, was on hand Saturday to watch his former players in action, as was Ron Bagby, who led the last Wolf gridiron squad to reach the state playoffs in 1990.

This year’s team boasted 34 players, the deepest roster in years, and racked up 52 touchdowns, led by Coffman (14 TD’s), Hilborn (13), and Ursu (12).

The Wolves scored 26 times on the ground — tying the program record set in 2014 — 18 times through the air, twice on interceptions, twice on fumble recoveries, twice on kickoff returns, and twice on punt returns.

More than the wins and losses, however, was how the team gelled, and how the community rallied around them.

The stands were overflowing for home games, fans traveled for road rumbles, near or far, and there was an excitement around the program which was infectious.

“The guys poured their hearts into this all season,” Richter said. “You can see that tonight with the hugs and the emotion.

“A loss always stings, but this is a resilient group; they didn’t put their heads down no matter the situation,” he added.

“The seniors led, and the young guys stepped up, and now that they’ve had a taste of what this is like, they’ll want more.

“I couldn’t be more proud of them!”

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Coupeville freshman Aiden O’Neill celebrates his first high school interception. (Brenna Silveira photo)

Hide the women and children, cause Dominic Coffman is killin’ folks up in here.

Hitting would-be tacklers hard enough to knock their souls into the next realm, the Coupeville High School senior crashed and banged his way to a four-touchdown night Thursday.

Scoring three different ways — on the ground, through the air, and while playing defense, Coffman sparked the Wolf gridiron squad to a 48-6 demolishing of visiting Bellingham before a sellout crowd.

And the butts were in the seats despite the game being bumped a day early thanks to a ref shortage in the region.

The non-conference victory, coming against a 2A school, lifts 2B Coupeville to 5-1, riding a four-game winning streak as they plan for the longest, and most-dangerous trip of the season.

The Wolves hit the road next Friday, Oct. 14 to travel 140+ miles to Leavenworth to clash with 1A Cascade, which is 5-0 heading into a game with Cashmere.

It’s a rematch for Coupeville against a team which beat them 42-13 on Whidbey last year, though this year’s Wolves are not quite last year’s Wolves.

This time around, CHS, which has three players with eight or more touchdowns — Scott Hilborn, Tim Ursu, and Coffman — has outscored its foes 228-90 and seems to be clicking on all cylinders.

That was certainly the case against Bellingham, with the Wolves rolling up their 48 points in just the first 20 minutes of game time.

Coupeville, despite repping a much-smaller school, had bigger, faster, and much-stronger players than the Bayhawks brought to town.

Bellingham is 2-4 this season, playing an independent schedule during a rebuilding phase, and the Wolves feasted on a foe which couldn’t slow them down.

Hilborn almost broke away for a touchdown on the opening kickoff but settled for scoring on an even more dramatic play a minute or so later.

Wolf quarterback Logan Downes lofted a pass over the Bellingham defense, allowing Hilborn to run past the Bayhawks, then dive while pulling in the falling football.

The 24-yard scoring strike was the first of two touchdowns on the night for Hilborn, pushing his team-leading total to 10.

Tack on a Daylon Houston PAT, and the Wolves were up 7-0 less than two minutes into the game.

Things would not get better for Bellingham.

Coupeville immediately forced a three-and-out thanks to William Davidson and Hilborn savagely taking down Bayhawk runners, then delivered the night’s most giddily violent play.

Taking over at Bellingham’s 36-yard line, Downes handed the ball to Coffman, then looked away so he wouldn’t have to witness the carnage.

Two Bayhawk defenders hit Coffman on his second step, only to have the Dominator flex every muscle in his body and knock both Bellingham players on their keisters.

The resulting bang could be heard in neighboring states, prompting several government officials to question whether a nuke had gone off in the region.

Back on the turf at Mickey Clark Field, Coffman ran straight through several more Bayhawks, shedding tackles and shredding psyches.

Bull-rushing his way to the back of the end zone, he completed the kind of mind-melting power run not seen since former Wolf great Ian Barron used to hit people so hard his own teammates politely declined the opportunity to try and tackle him during practices.

B is for Bellingham, but B is also for bruise, and there will be a lot of the latter in the former tomorrow.

Dominic Coffman? He’d rather run through you than around you. (Bailey Thule photo)

The Bayhawks had their one bright moment of the night in the aftermath, blocking Coupeville’s PAT before driving methodically down the field for their only score.

It came on a short fourth-down run from rugged sophomore Tyler Frost, who churned away all game, though usually with four or five Wolves hanging all over his 230-pound body.

If Bellingham could have frozen time, that moment, when it trailed 13-6, would have been worth remembering.

But the clock waits for no Bayhawk, and the Wolves bit back hard.

Ursu brought the ensuing kickoff back to midfield, and two plays later Downes tossed a 50-yard TD pass to Coffman, with freshman Chase Anderson tacking on the extra point.

If 20-6 looked nice after one quarter of play, 48-6 at the half looked even better.

Fab frosh Aiden O’Neill picked off a pass to open the second quarter, followed by the Wolves scoring on three of the next four snaps.

The only non-scoring play was a “modest” 25-yard run from Coffman, crushing fools with every step.

Otherwise, it was all “celebrate in the end zone, all the time” for the Wolves.

Hilborn zigged and zagged his way to a 45-yard scoring run, Coffman forced a fumble and returned it for Coupeville’s first defensive TD of the year, and a pack of Wolves converged on the Bellingham ballcarrier to net a safety.

In between, freshman Ezra Boilek bashed a kickoff through the end zone for a touchback, earning big kudos from his teammates and Wolf assistant coach Bobby Carr.

Coupeville actually scored again immediately after the safety, only to have a long TD pass negated by a penalty.

Sighing deeply, the Wolves said, “Fine, we’ll work for it,” and used a six-play drive to chip some time off the clock before Coffman plunged in from three yards out to make it 40-6.

The Wolves wrapped up their offensive firepower show with a final touchdown with a hair under four minutes to play in the first half.

Downes did most of the work, scrambling for 49 yards on third-and-10, going down right at the one-yard line.

That allowed sophomore Johnny Porter a chance to stroll in from one yard out on the next play, notching his third touchdown of the season as the Wolf line drove Bellingham’s defense off the field and into the nearby bushes.

Toss in Coupeville’s first two-point conversion of the season, on a pass from Downes to Ursu, and the scoreboard was in full melt-down mode.

Bellingham tried to salvage a little self-respect on the final drive of the half, but Coupeville’s defense was unwilling to relent.

Mikey Robinett blew up a runner in the backfield, Hilborn crushed a Bayhawk a millisecond after he yanked a bad snap off the ground, and Jonathan Valenzuela sacked Bellingham’s QB on fourth down.

With the game a rout, the second half was all about a running clock getting the visitors back on the bus and headed home to the big city.

Coffman and Ursu both collected interceptions, though what should have been a pick-six for Ursu was denied thanks to one of his teammates getting caught delivering a chop block to a Bayhawk.

As the Wolf faithful celebrated, even with another day of school and work looming, CHS head coach Bennett Richter basked in the afterglow.

He got every player in uniform into the game Thursday and won on wife Megan’s birthday.

As the stadium lights turned off overhead, Richter’s smile lit up the darkness.

“This? This is fun!”

And then he was off to plan for Cascade.

Wolves (l to r) William Davidson, Mikey Robinett, Logan Downes, and Zane Oldenstadt enjoy a big win. (Michelle Glass photo)

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Tim Ursu has scored four different ways this season — pass reception, rush, kickoff return, and punt return. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Scott Hilborn is a scoring threat anytime he touches the ball. (Jackie Saia photo)

They like living in the end zone.

Five games into the season, the Coupeville High School football team has scored 26 touchdowns en route to posting a 4-1 record.

The Wolves have split the scoring load between seven players, with Dominic Coffman (4), Daylon Houston (2), Johnny Porter (2), Logan Downes (1), and Aiden O’Neill (1) all chipping into the effort.

But there’s a titanic twosome leading the way, as seniors Tim Ursu and Scott Hilborn have hit paydirt eight times apiece.

Ursu has snagged five TD passes, while also scoring once on a run, a punt return, and a kickoff return.

Hilborn counters with six scores as a rusher, one through the air, and one off of a kickoff return.

Coupeville has four regular season games left and seems intent on picking up a playoff tilt or two.

That should give Hilborn and Ursu a chance to make a run at putting together some of the best scoring seasons in the Coupeville Sports era, which runs from 2012-2022.

Who are they chasing? Well, in Hilborn’s case, it’s himself.


Most TDs 2012-2022:

Josh Bayne — 25 TDs in 2014
Hunter Smith — 14 TDs in 2016
Scott Hilborn — 12 TDs in 2021
Sean Toomey-Stout — 10 TDs in 2018
Jake Tumblin — 10 TDs in 2012
Bryce Fleming — 9 TDs in 2012
Jake Tumblin — 9 TDs in 2013


And one fun fact.

Even though Josh Bayne was unstoppable in 2014, he does NOT own the school’s single season record for collecting either rushing or receiving touchdowns.

He ran for 15 scores, and snagged another 10 through the air that year, but the CHS marks of 16 TDs on the ground and 11 through the air belong to Ian Barron and Hunter Smith, respectively.

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