Posts Tagged ‘state playoffs’

“Whatcha talkin’ bout, Willis?!” (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a long time coming.

Coupeville High School football reached the state playoffs for the first time since 1990, clashing with Onalaska Saturday at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Along for the ride was wanderin’ camera clicker John Fisken, who provides us with the pics seen above and below.

To see everything he shot, pop over to:


Tim Ursu scrambles away from a defender, moments before connecting with Hunter Bronec on a huge 54-yard catch-and-run pass play.

Coupeville’s chain gang basks in the mid-November sun.

Like Johnny Cash before him, Brett Casey walks the line.

Hunter Bronec hauls in a bomb.

Hardworking Wolf football manager Brenna Silveira tries to grab a quick snack while being haunted by the paparazzi.

Coupeville head coach Bennett Richter flashbacks to his own days playing at Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Dominic Coffman stretches out for a touchdown, much to the delight of team trainer Jessica Caselden.

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Fresh off her own successful run at the state meet, cross country ace Cristina McGrath supports her football-playing classmates. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

The cold never bothered them, anyway.

There was a bit of a November nip in the air Saturday as Coupeville hosted Onalaska in a state playoff game, but the temps didn’t keep Wolf fans away.

Instead, they opted for wearing layers, sipping hot drinks, and staying active on the cold metal bleachers at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Jarrett and Tasha Fiedler raise the roof.

Mia Farris stares down the cameraman while Ryan Blouin has gone to his happy place, where it’s much, much warmer.

“I will get loud ‘n proud, yes sir.”

Gwen Crowder contemplates going all Sean Penn on the paparazzi.

Where’s Waldo, Coupeville edition.

Former CHS hoops star Anya Leavell came prepared for the cold.

The Wolf faithful get rowdy.

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Avery Williams-Buchanan leads off a parade of CHS cheerleaders. (Photos by JohnsPhotos.net)

Bigger stadium, bigger cheers.

Coupeville High School’s support crew came out in full force Saturday as the Wolves hosted a state playoff football game at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

While the venue in O-Town is considerably larger than the one in Cow Town, Coupeville’s cheerleaders still made the rafters rock, staying loud ‘n proud from pregame warmups to final buzzer.

Hayley Fiedler

Gracie McFarlin

Ember Light

Alysia Burdge

Karyme Castro

Carlota Marcos-Cabrillo

Abbigail Bond

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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 QB Logan Downes has thrown for 17 touchdowns this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Forget about Friday Night Lights.

The Coupeville High School football team will play its first state playoff game in 32 years in the daylight, on a different weekend day.

The Wolves (7-1) host Onalaska (5-5) in a loser-out game, with the action set to go down Saturday, Nov. 12 at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

Kickoff is 4:00 PM.

The date and time were likely selected to ease the travel burden on Onalaska, which is looking at a nearly 400-mile round trip.

Saturday’s tilt features a Coupeville program which last made it to the big dance in 1990 against a school which won state football titles in 1986 and 2019.

The Loggers won two playoff games last season before falling to eventual state champ Kalama in the semifinals.

Saturday’s winner heads to Eastern Washington the next week, with a quarterfinal matchup against Okanogan (10-0).

Ticket prices for the playoff opener, which are set by the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, and not the schools involved:


Adults and high school/middle school students without ASB — $10
Senior Citizens (62+) — $7
High school/middle school students with ASB — $7
Elementary school students — $7
Children (4 and under) — FREE


Tickets can be purchased in person with cash or online at:


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