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Posts Tagged ‘Troy Blouin’

Mickey Clark Field has many stories to tell. (David Stern photo)

One bright, shining moment in time.

Travel back 28 years, then tack on two days, and you arrive at Friday, Oct. 30, 1992.

The #1 song in America was End of the Road by Boyz II Men, part of a then-record 13-week run atop the Billboard charts for Philly’s finest R&B crooners.

Meanwhile, a still-sleek Steven Seagal pummeled all comers in Under Siege, wrapping its fourth, and final weekend, as the top box office draw at movie theaters.

Down home in Coupeville, however, the focus was on Homecoming.

I was at the beginning of my two-year run as Sports Editor at the Whidbey News-Times, though I had already spent a fair amount of time camped out as a freelance reporter in the (already) rickety press box at Mickey Clark Field.

There weren’t as many bees running wild in the finest box built for 2.5 men as there would one day be, but the crisp air was probably helping that situation.

I can’t say for sure (memories fade), but I’m pretty sure I was sharing the box with CHS teachers Mark Gale and Tom Eller that night – the former on the mic, the latter workin’ the clock.

And, as he always was fond of doing in the days before we had an actual working horn, Eller would signal the end of quarters by firing off a starter’s pistol over the head of those crammed into the tiny stands.

First, he would warn people it was about to happen, so they could cover their ears.

Then, he would patiently wait for them to uncover their ears, before leaning out the open window, popping the gun, and laughing like a madman.

Good times.

On the night of Oct. 30, 1992, Coupeville entered its game at 1-4 in Cascade League play, 3-4 overall.

Facing off with bigger schools, the scrappy Wolves, just pushed up to 1A from 2B, always had their work cut out for them, but never backed off lest head coach Ron Bagby put a boot in their butts.

This time around, Foster, out of Tukwila, was the opponent, and the visitors controlled things for much of the night, building a 21-6 lead after three quarters.

Things had briefly perked up for Wolf fans when Homecoming royalty was announced at the half, with Videoville employee Gina Dozier crowned as Queen, while Jason McManigle copped King honors.

Rounding out the royalty were fellow seniors Joli Smith and Troy Blouin, juniors Greta Robinett and Jason Hughes, sophomores Mimi Iverson and Ryan McManigle, and freshmen Lark Eelkema and Jason Jordan.

But down 21-6, and with their ears still ringing from Eller’s shenanigans, the Coupeville faithful were in low spirits as we entered the final quarter.

At which point, Bagby stuck his boot in some butts, and changed everything.

A suddenly fired-up Wolf squad erupted as the clock ticked down, pulling off one of the great comeback wins in school history, no matter the sport.

Blouin, running the team at quarterback, struck first, careening into the end zone on a lil’ one-yard plunge.

That cut the score to 21-12, and even though the ensuing two-point conversion attempt failed badly, hope lived once again on the prairie.

The Wolf defense, which included rampaging linebacker Kevin Steiner, who spent much of the game harassing Foster’s quarterback, stuffed the visitors in short order, setting Coupeville up for some offensive razzle-dazzle.

Pump-faking the Foster defenders out of their shoes, Blouin flipped a quick pitch to Wolf running back Todd Brown, a beast who spent most games putting his head down and crushing the ribs of anyone foolhardy enough to try and tackle him.

In this moment, however, Brown stepped back and let rip, dropping a 32-yard scoring strike right onto the fingertips of a streaking Kit Manzanares.

Coupeville was coming full-tilt, and yet, to make things really exciting, they first missed the PAT, leaving their deficit at 21-18.

While Bagby contemplated making his kicking team run laps until Monday morning classes began, the Wolf defense eased his angst.

Pinning Foster deep on a third-and-extremely long, CHS crashed the line, and Foster melted like popsicles during an August heat wave.

Scrambling madly, the Foster QB got popped from the right, the left, the front, and, probably, the back.

At which point, the pigskin left his hands, went airborne for a second, then flopped to the grass, sending every Wolf in the vicinity diving for the turf.

Bodies writhed, several players were likely kicked in the nads, and then one single, solitary dude in red and black popped up, holding on to the ball and causing Eller to scream something which sounded like “Sweet sassy molassy!!” directly into my ear.

Who scored that game-changing touchdown, which lifted Coupeville, after a rare successful PAT, to a 25-21 lead?

That’s lost to time, as, grass-stained jerseys, and low-wattage stadium lights, made it hard to read numbers, and my ’92 story awards no credit.

So here’s to you, Mr. Anonymous.

But … wait … that wasn’t the final play of the game.

The slowest-moving clock in football country still had a sizable amount of ticks left on it, allowing Foster a chance to come back.

Which they did not, of course, or you wouldn’t be reading this story now, would you?

Coupeville forced Foster to turn the ball over on downs one more time, then went to run out the clock and … promptly fumbled the freakin’ ball away.

Cue the Foster QB turning into 1992 Dan Marino (so, super-scary), as he drove the visitors downfield, setting up one final bomb into the end zone with five seconds to play.

The ball went airborne, descending into a pack of players squirming like worms in a clump in the end zone.

Every Wolf fan and their sister sucked in their breath, Eller mumbled a prayer, then all of that pent-up air came whooshing back out, sending a blast that almost knocked Bagby (rockin’ the short shorts) off his feet.

The reason for the exhale?

Blouin came charging out of the scrum, holding the football aloft, and the Wolves, who had been under siege all night, had reached the end of their Homecoming road as champs.

Exactly the way Bagby drew it up in the pre-game meeting.

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Coupeville football coach Tom Roehl holds the line during a summer camp workout. (Photos by Geoff Newton)

It was a different time.

For one thing, newspaper photographers were still using dark rooms and often had to come back at halftime of games to develop their photos to make deadline.

For another thing, small-town newspapers still employed full-time staff photographers…

Welcome to the rollicking early ’90s, a time when I was posing as a professional newspaper whiz kid, one with a business card which ID’d me as Sports Editor at the Whidbey News-Times.

There are rumors I even wore pants!

You can ponder that startling bit of background info, or just marinate in some non-David pics from that time.

I recommend the latter.

Wolf softball players head to the dugout after a strong defensive stand.

Nick Sellgren (second from left) helps a teammate feel the burn.

Troy Blouin gets creative.

Kit Manzanares hits the tape like a boss.

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