Football: Wolves lose another heartbreaker

A game that started with elation ended in despair as the Coupeville High School football team lost 28-21 at Granite Falls Friday, Oct. 1.

It was the second straight heartbreaking loss for the Wolves who gave up last-minute touchdowns two weeks in a row.

Coupeville will try to recover with the help of the excitement of homecoming week next Friday, Oct. 8, when it hosts Cedarcrest at 7 p.m.

The game at Granite Falls had a happy beginning for the Wolves as quarterback Ian Smith hit Mitch Pelroy on a short pass that the speedy receiver turned into a 77-yard touchdown on the game’s first play.

Later in the period Danny Savalza, subbing for an injured Dalton Engle, scored from three yards out, Kole Kellison kicked his second point after and Coupeville was cruising 14-0.

From that point the script for the game began to unfold as the Tiger running game started to gobble up yardage, eat away at the game clock and keep the Wolves’ offense off the field.

Granite Falls marched down to the 10 but missed a field goal. Moments later an interception at midfield put the Tigers back in business. This time they weren’t denied and drove for their first score.

Granite Falls then recovered an unintentional onside kick when the squib boot ricocheted off a Coupeville lineman. Two fourth down penalties helped keep the Tiger drive alive, but the Wolves avoided further damaged when they recovered at fumble at the 13 with eight seconds left in the half.

In the second quarter, the Tigers ran 19 plays to Coupeville’s five – a trend that continued the remainder of the game.

In the first possession of the second half, Granite Falls fumbled again to Coupeville, but the Wolves’ momentum was short lived. A three-and-out and a 40-yard Tiger run set up the tying touchdown with just under seven minutes left in the third quarter.

The Wolves moved the ball once again. The drive, highlighted by a 15-yard Smith run and aided by a pass interference call, advanced the ball to the Tiger 15. Four incomplete passes later, Coupeville came up empty.

In its next possession, the Wolves just missed on a long scoring play when a Smith bomb slipped off the fingers of his receiver.

Granite Falls then took over with 11:23 left in the game. The Tigers traveled 65 yards in four minutes, averaging over five yards a carry, to take a 21-14 lead.

Beginning at its own 33, Coupeville mounted a game-tying drive. The Wolves moved the ball past midfield on three Smith runs. There things momentarily stalled and Coupeville faced a fourth-and-one at the Tiger 49.

Flushed out of the backfield, Smith scrambled to his left and lofted a 42-yard completion to freshman Bryce Fleming to the Tiger 7.

Smith carried three times, the third for the score with 3:49 left. PAT kicks have been anything but automatic for the Wolves all season, primarily because of blocking issues, but the unit and Kellison were perfect to knot the score at 21.

After the kickoff, Granite Falls took over at its own 29. Two questions remained. Could the Tigers cover 71 yards in 3:49 without abandoning their favored running game, and could the weary Wolves defense, which had been on the field much of the past three quarters, stop the running game?

The answers came quickly. After a half dozen running plays, three for 15 yards for more, and exactly two minutes later, the Tigers sat at the Coupeville 9-yard line. On third-and-four Granite Falls scored with 42 seconds left.

Two Coupeville completions put the ball at midfield, but the Wolves ran out of time.

Coupeville coach Jay Silver was disappointed in the loss but not in the effort of his young team. He pointed out that the Wolves started six underclassmen on defense and because of their physical immaturity, it’s tough for them to handle the continual pounding of senior-laden teams. He added that this year’s growing pains will result in positive results in the future.

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