The first play was an omen of what was to come.
Coupeville fumbled on its initial play and the thrill of homecoming was soon dashed as the Wolves fell 47-14 to Granite Falls Friday, Oct. 5, at Mickey Clark Field.
Coupeville coach Tony Maggio said it was his team’s weakest performance of the season, adding, “We played poorly as a unit; we didn’t seem to be into it. Maybe they were thinking about dancing.”
After the Wolves opened the game by fumbling away possession at their own 25-yard line, Granite Falls soon scored. Two more quick-strike Tiger touchdowns followed and Granite Falls led 21-0 in the first quarter.
“That (the fumble) kills you, and then we couldn’t stop the bleeding,” Maggio said.
They also couldn’t stop Mathew Hamilton, who rushed for 208 yards on only seven carriers. Three of the totes went for touchdowns, all from long range (70, 65 and 35 yards). Two other Tiger scores were also long runs, 38 and 46 yards.
Maggio said Coupeville focused on stopping Kyle Everett, who they considered a bigger threat, and Hamilton took advantage. “We didn’t have the speed to contain him,” Maggio said.
After Granite Falls’ quick start, it appeared Coupeville might get back into the game.
The Wolves scored in the second quarter on a 17-yard pass from Josh Bayne to Bryce Fleming to make it 21-6; the PAT kick was blocked.
Granite Falls upped it to 28-6, then Coupeville split the lead on a Jake Tumblin TD run and a PAT pass from Bayne to Fleming, Maggio said.
Now down 28-14, Coupeville marched into the red zone hoping to trim the lead to one score only to run out of time at the end of the half, according to Maggio.
That momentum was squelched after the halftime festivities as the Tigers (2-2, 2-4) struck for two more scores to put away the win.
In all, Coupeville reached the red zone five times but came away with only two scores, Maggio said. “I thought we moved the ball well. We were putting yards on. We were one play away from doing some damage.”
Coupeville finished the game with two turnovers and had a punt and extra-point kick blocked.
The Wolves rushed for 170 yards, led by Brett Arnold with 88 yards on 22 carries. Bayne completed five of 17 passes for one touchdown and a PAT. Granite Falls rushed for 409 yards and did not attempt a pass.
Coupeville (0-1, 1-5) plays at South Whidbey (1-2, 2-3) at 7 p.m. Friday.
The rivalry game, always a spirited affair, may carry more meaning this year.
Maggio said they are still working playoff details, but it may come down to who wins Friday to secure one of the 1A playoff spots for the crossover round with the Northwest Conference.