The thick fog that enveloped Mickey Clark Field like a wet blanket wasn't the culprit who sucked the excitement out of the Coupeville High School homecoming football game, it was the outcome.
Rival South Whidbey dampened the party by defeating the Wolves 57-33 Friday, Oct. 18.
The loss also made the road to the playoffs for Coupeville much more steep. The Wolves now must win at King's at 7 p.m. this Friday, Oct. 25, to stay in the post-season hunt.
Coupeville coach Tony Maggio said, "It is not the route I wanted to take, but we are going to give it a shot."
The first-place Knights are 5-0 in league play, 6-1 overall, and ranked ninth in the state 1A poll. Their only loss was 14-6 in the season opener to Lynden, the state's second-ranked 2A team.
Though undefeated in Cascade Conference action, the Knights have shown a few chinks in their armor, Maggio said. They slipped by Sultan 7-3; the Turks are only 3-4 for the year. Two weeks ago, a last-second score enabled King's to nip a 2-5 Cedarcrest team 27-24.
The South Whidbey-Coupeville game was played in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd, and Coupeville thrilled the home folks by scoring first.
Jake Tumblin, who finished the game with 233 yards on 18 carries, sprinted 49 yards to open the high-scoring game.
The PAT kick failed.
While Tumblin carried much of the offensive load for Coupeville, Falcon quarterback Nick French countered for South Whidbey. The big senior rushed for three scores and threw for two more.
A 30-yard run by French and the PAT kick by Cooper Nichols gave the Falcons a 7-6 lead going into the second quarter.
Tumblin struck again from long distance, this time from 57 yards out. Joel Walstad kicked the point after and the Wolves led 13-7.
From that point South Whidbey dominated, scoring six touchdowns to Coupeville's one and building a 50-19 lead.
First Nichols rushed for a TD, then French threw for another.
Brett Arnold kept the Wolves close with a 5-yard run, cutting the South Whidbey lead to 21-19.
Another touchdown toss and a two-point conversion completion by French upped the score to 29-19 at the break.
The Falcons began the second half with three consecutive scores, the first two on short runs by French. The third was a 92-yard knife to the heart by Nichols.
Coupeville helped fuel the Falcon surge by throwing two interceptions. In the final period, the Wolves also lost a fumble at the Falcon 2-yard line.
Late in the third quarter, Lathom Kelley finally broke the Coupeville drought with a 54-yard TD run; he also ran for the points after. That made it 50-27.
In the fourth quarter, South Whidbey tacked on its final score.
Coupeville recovered two onside kicks, converting one into its final touchdown, a 1-yard run by Tumblin.
In addition to his two long scoring runs, Tumblin also zipped 61 yards on a fake punt and caught three passes for 24 yards. Defensively, he was just as dangerous, finishing with 16 solo tackles and five assists, according to Maggio, who called the performance "impressive."
Langvold completed eight of 18 passes for 118 yards. Wade Schaef caught two for 68 yards.
Arnold and Kelley each had nine solo tackles and three assists, and Josh Bayne recorded eight solos and three assists.
The Wolves were hurt by the absence of their top lineman, Nick Streubel. The Division I recruit, out with an ankle injury, could have helped shore up the run defense, better protect Coupeville QB Gunnar Langvold and put pressure on French, Maggio said.
Maggio said the Wolves had trouble stopping the dives, and when they provided defensive help inside, the DBs were exposed: "Not to take away from Nick French, who had a great game, but our corners had a tough night. South Whidbey hurt us with the deep ball."
Maggio was surprised by the high-scoring game: "I thought something in the 20s would win it."
"Other than the Port Townsend game when we didn't have anybody (many of the Coupeville's skill players were hurt), we have been playing great defense," Maggio said.
Maggio said he was pleased with the Wolves' offense, then added that wasn't the only positive aspect of the game.
"The support of the community was amazing," he said. "The place was packed; the whole town of Coupeville was there."
Sunday evening, Maggio said, "I am over it (the South Whidbey loss). Now we have to get King's."
An upset win would surely get the party restarted.