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   Caleb Meyer, with his #1 cheerleader, big sis Mckenzie, sealed Coupeville’s 14-13 win Wednesday with a last-second fumble recovery. (Frank Meyer photo)

The new stadium’s not fully built yet, but it’s already been baptized with a thriller of a win.

Playing in the shadows of a work crew slowly assembling glitzy new grandstands, the Coupeville Middle School football squad pulled off a wild 14-13 victory Wednesday over visiting Blue Heron.

To seal the victory, though, the Wolves had to come up with two epic plays in the final minute of play.

First, after surrendering a late touchdown toss from its Port Townsend-based rivals, Coupeville had to snuff out a two-point conversion attempt.

Then, as soon as that was done, the Wolves, having lost the ball after a bad bounce on the ensuing onside kick, had to make a huge defensive stand.

Instead of hanging tough on play after nerve-wracking play, CMS crushed the Blue Heron line on the very next play from scrimmage, forcing a fumble which bounced nearly from one side of the field to the other.

As players from both sides slammed into the turf, trying desperately to corral a seemingly greased-up ball which popped free not once, not twice, but three times, time stood still.

Until Wolf 8th grader Caleb Meyer, last heir to the Videoville legacy, pulled the ball into his chest and held on for dear life as every other player on the field fell on top of him.

Emerging from the heap a bit mussed, but flashing a mega-watt grin and holding the ball high, he elicited a tidal wave of cheers from Coupeville’s sidelines, where coaches Gabe Shaw and Ryan King led the celebration.

Filling in for Wolf head coach Bob Martin while he was out of town on real-world business, Shaw brought home the W, then passed out praise.

Logan Martin and Logan Wertz were “the dynamic duo,” controlling the line and “doing their due diligence hunting the ball on defense.”

Quarterback Xavier Murdy, who ran the offense while also finding time to pick off a pass on defense, did “a phenomenal job. He kept his composure when things got tight.”

Then, sweeping his hand across the horizon, his fingers pointing at each and every one of his players, Shaw nodded emphatically, grin on his face.

“Really, really nice support work from the whole crew … all the players and this crowd!”

Coupeville never trailed, jumping on Blue Heron for the game’s first score early in the second quarter.

Damon Stadler ripped through the defense, leaving a trail of would-be tacklers in his wake, as he plunged in from the five-yard line. Tack on a two-point kick from Murdy and CMS was staked to an 8-0 lead.

Two huge defensive plays from Scott Hilborn, plus a fumble recovery by Martin and a big break-up of a pass by Nezi Keiper, made the score stand up heading into the halftime break.

Hilborn, a slick-hitting, slick-fielding baseball star, may not be the biggest guy on the gridiron, but he picks his moments to play like a giant.

On the first play on his Wednesday highlight reel, Wendi and Steve Hilborn’s youngest chased down a Blue Heron kickoff returner, preventing a touchdown when he rammed the runner out of bounds a step or two shy of the end zone.

Coupeville’s defense stiffened, shoving the visitors back, then Hilborn struck again.

Facing fourth down, Blue Heron’s QB tried to roll out and look for a pass, only to have his plans thwarted when Hilborn, flying around from the side, brought him down with a sack.

To make the tackle, he had to grab the passer’s shoe, then yank with enough force to topple him before he could let loose with a toss. Mission accomplished.

Blue Heron finally got on the board midway through the third, marching down the field on a four-minute-plus drive that ended with an 18-yard scoring run to daylight.

Coupeville didn’t break, though, blocking the kick to keep the score tight at 8-6.

Then things got bonkers in the fourth.

Hold on to something, cause things are about to come flying at you.

Lunging for the end zone after a sweet catch over the middle, Coupeville’s Hawthorne Wolfe got popped hard from behind and the ball was jarred loose. Advantage, Blue Heron.

But Murdy promptly climbed the stairway to heaven, picking a pass. Advantage, Coupeville.

Hilborn made a sensational recovery off of a fumble by a teammate to keep the ensuing drive alive, before the Wolves used some trickery (Cody Roberts pulled off a TimTebow-in-his-college-prime hop and pass, hitting Stadler for a TD) to stretch the lead.

Big advantage, Coupeville.

Except … the visitors blocked the kick, then drove down field for a potential game-tying score of their own. Advantage, Blue Heron.

But the final advantage belonged to the guys in the red and black uniforms, sending a surprisingly large crowd to the exit with smiles and hugs all around.

The Wolves broke through Blue Heron’s line, preventing them from getting a kick off.

While the visitors picked the ball up and ran it in, middle school rules, aimed at encouraging kicking, are the reverse of those used in high school, college or the NFL, awarding two points for a kick and just one for a run or pass.

Still trailing, Blue Heron went for a miracle, and got part of it with the onside kick.

Enter Meyer, playing the role of the closer on the same field where his uncle, Michael, once cleared running room for Coupeville’s career rushing leader, Ian Barron.

As he carried the ball, and the win, off the field, Caleb (whose aunts Jennifer, Kathryn and Megan and big sis Mckenzie all starred in a variety of sports for the Wolves, as well) wrote another tale in his family’s book of athletic success.

It’s a pretty good bet there are a lot more chapters still to come.

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Lauren Grove at work. (John Fisken photo)

Lauren Grove at work. (John Fisken photo)

Troy Cowan was on cloud nine.

Even though his Coupeville High School girls’ soccer squad took a 1-0 non-conference loss at La Conner Tuesday, that was the least of his concerns.

First and foremost was the health of his star defender and team captain, Jenn Spark, who momentarily gave him an epic wave of angina.

Spark, who suffered a devastating ACL/MCL injury as a junior, was running for a ball late in the game Tuesday.

After missing the elusive orb, she went down, momentarily recreating memories of last season for her coach.

“With all seriousness I have to say I was about to have a heart attack!!!,” Cowan said. “She took a (Tim) Tebow pose for like seven seconds that seemed like 30 minutes!!

“My heart went to my shoes and memories of my ER visit returned and started haunting my soul!!!,” he added. “She slowly got up and was wobbly and didn’t look right and within seconds the match was over.

“She was denying anything and everything and later I find out there was a twinge, but later in the night her mom sends me a comforting text that she is okay!!! And I can finally fall asleep at 3:15 AM…”

While the loss, coming in Coupeville’s first game after 10 days off, dropped the Wolves to 2-4-3, coming so close to a very good La Conner (10-2) team while giving his bench a thorough workout was also cause for joy for Cowan.

“They did awesome!!! Last non-conference match, so I played a lot of bench players because I know once conference matches start my rotation will go down to about 13-14 players,” he said.

“We actually dominated the entire match and totally controlled possession throughout,” Cowan added. “I was so happy with the way we played.”

The Wolves, who kick off their six-game 1A Olympic League schedule with a trip to Chimacum Thursday, are a very young team.

CHS lost eight seniors, all key players, to graduation in the spring.

“Only having two returning seniors (Spark and Kirsten Pelroy) really allows us to rebuild and focus on building from the ground up and this team has proven that they will be a force to be reckoned with for years to come!!!,” Cowan said.

Cowan was especially pleased with his defense.

“Everything on our team starts and ends with our defensive unit and last night they were just on full tilt!!!,” Cowan said. “Lindsey Roberts especially, just her masterful ball control was unbelievable and her decision making as a freshman was truly remarkable!!

Lauren Bayne and Mckenzie Meyer are two outstanding, incredibly intelligent young ladies with brilliant soccer careers in front of them,” he added.

Also drawing big praise was junior Lauren Grove, who made the jump from volleyball this season and has moved right in as the starting goaltender.

“Our goalie, get out!!! I can’t say enough good things about her,” Cowan said. “Master performance last night!!! Lauren Grove is a beast in the box.

“Not sure where she has been or why she has not been playing soccer but I want to thank the soccer Gods for sending this athlete to the Lady Wolves because she is not only saving goals but turning heads and catching the attention of some big league coaches eyes!!!”

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