It sure feels good to beat those Falcons.
The Coupeville High School football secured a playoff berth last Friday with an 18-13 win at South Whidbey.
A win over rival South Whidbey is always special, and it’s even better if it’s an upset and for a playoff spot. The victory also returned “The Bucket” to Coupeville after a six-year absence.
Had Coupeville lost, it would have had to knock off No. 1-ranked King’s this Friday to remain in the hunt for a playoff slot.
The Wolves headed into the South Whidbey game with only one win. The two-win Falcons’ record wasn’t much better, but they had played a more difficult schedule which included losses to top-ranked King’s; Lakewood, the state’s No. 2-ranked 2A school; and perennial power Archbishop Murphy.
One of the wins was over Granite Falls, which had dumped Coupeville 47-14 just last week.
“We had the best week of practice we have ever had,” Coupeville head coach Tony Maggio said. “We worked hard. I felt we were ready.”
Ready they were. The Wolves jumped to an early lead and let its defense take care of the rest.
Jake Tumblin scored from 10 yards out with 3:51 left in the second quarter. Just before the half, Josh Bayne reached the end zone on a two-yard quarterback sneak. Bayne tossed an eight-yard pass to Bryce Fleming with 5:31 left in the third quarter for the final TD.
South Whidbey scored in the third period after taking over at the Coupeville 35 after a poor snap on a punt.
The team’s second score came with only three seconds left in the game. The Falcons did threaten several other times, but the Wolves made the defensive plays when they needed them.
Maggio, who received a water-bucket bath from his players after the game, said his troops were tired in the fourth quarter but weren’t about to let the game slip away.
In the second half South Whidbey completed a long pass, but just before the receiver reached the end zone, a Coupeville defender batted the ball loose. The ball rolled out of the back of the end zone and the Wolves took over at the 20.
In the fourth quarter Korbin Korzan intercepted a pass to halt a Falcon drive, and Bayne launched a 62-yard punt that was downed by Wade Schaef that pinned the Falcons deep in their own territory.
“Our defensive line dominated,” Maggio said. “They couldn’t run the ball. Our secondary also played well.”
The defensive front of Caleb Valko, Nick Streubel and Anthony Maggio combined for 18 tackles (two for losses) and a sack. Carson Risner added a sack, caused fumble and fumble recovery.
Bayne finished with four solo tackles, Riley Boyd with three solo tackles and three assists; Tumblin had three solo tackles and five assists; Korzan had one solo tackle and six assists; and Danny Savalza finished with two solo tackles and three assists.
One of Savalza’s stops was a key tackle for a loss in the fourth quarter.
Offensively, Bayne hit five of 10 passes for 51 yards and rushed for 72 yards on nine carries, one a 34-yarder. Tumblin raced 114 yards, including runs of 55 and 29 yards, on 11 carries and caught two passes for 18 yards. Brett Arnold added 76 yards on 15 carries and Fleming led the receivers with two catches for 33 yards.
Now the Wolves face King’s in Coupeville at 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 19.
The Knights are led by quarterback Billy Green, who has signed with Brigham Young University.
Going into last week’s games, Green had completed 99 of 141 passes for 1,606 yards and 29 touchdowns.
That is almost 1,000 yards and 17 touchdowns more than the second-best Cascade Conference totals by Lakewood’s Kolby Scheuller.
His favorite receiver, Caleb Taylor, has 40 catches for 765 yards and 14 touchdowns. The yardage total is twice that of the No. 2 catcher, Lakewood’s Justin Peterson at 367.
The playoffs begin Tuesday, Oct. 30 with a pair of mini-games. The No. 2 seed from conference, likely to be Coupeville, will meet the No. 3 seed from the Northwest Conference at 6 p.m. at the home of the Northwest Conference No. 2 seed.
The two teams will play a half, and the winner will play the NWC No. 2 seed at 7:30 p.m. in another two-period game to determine the district’s No. 3 seed in the next round.