Coupeville drops ragged opener | Football

Josh Bayne (white jersey) weaves through the Bellevue Christian defense. - John Fisken / Whidbey News-Times
Josh Bayne (white jersey) weaves through the Bellevue Christian defense.
— image credit: John Fisken / Whidbey News-Times

Following the typical first-game script of inconsistencies and mistakes, Bellevue Christian eked out a 23-18 win over Coupeville Thursday, Aug. 30, at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland.

The two young teams -- each suited up only three seniors -- combined for five turnovers and 18 penalties as they fought through first-game jitters and limited practice time.

Coupeville dressed out only 20 of its 37 players. Three were injured and 14 had not met the minimum number of practices (12) needed to compete in a game. Among the missing were six starters, including two of its top running backs, Jake Tumblin and Danny Savalza.

Tony Maggio, who was making his debut as Coupeville head coach, said all should be ready for the home opener with Port Townsend at 5:30 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7.

For the Wolves, it was a game of missed opportunities. Coupeville dropped three interceptions, had one touchdown called back because of a penalty, had another sure TD dropped by a Coupeville receiver, allowed Bellevue Christian to convert on third-and-long (10-plus yards) four times and committed eight penalties, seven for 10 or more yards.

It wasn't all bad for Coupeville. Even without Tumblin and Savalza, the Wolves featured a strong running game. Brett Arnold ran for 166 yards on 19 carries and Bryce Fleming gained 101 yards on eight carries and scored three touchdowns.

Quarterback Gunnar Langvold, in his first start, was 2-for-13 for 22 yards.

Maggio was also pleased with the effort of his shorthanded squad: "I liked how we worked; we played iron-man ball."

He also lauded his offensive line which faced heavy pressure from the continually blitzing Viking defense.

Both teams scored on its first possession.

BC, aided by a pass interference call, went 60 yards in 10 plays to go up 7-0.

Coupeville came right back, scoring in just four plays behind Fleming's 40-yard TD run. Josh Bayne's PAT kick was tipped and Coupeville trailed 7-6.

Arnold snagged an interception in Bellevue Christian's next possession, but the Wolves fumbled it back.

After trading punts, Bayne's interception and 20-yard return gave Coupeville the ball at the BC 14, but the Wolves failed to score.

In its first possession of the second quarter, Langvold hit Fleming on a lateral pass, then Fleming tossed a bomb down field to a wide open receiver who dropped the ball on what would have been an 80-yard TD.

The Wolves punted and BC drove down for a 29-yard Peter Ralston field goal and a 10-6 lead.

After Coupeville failed to convert on fourth-and-one at midfield, Bellevue Christian drove for a 16-6 lead with 4:56 left in the third quarter.

Coupeville countered when Fleming capped a 69-yard drive with a 15-yard run. A bad snap foiled the PAT.

Just before the end of the quarter, BC faced a third-and-10 from its own 34. A 19-yard pass play netted the first down, and Coupeville was called for roughing the passer and unsportsmanlike contact, tacking on 30 more yards. Three plays later, the Vikings scored and led 23-12 with 10:39 left.

A 29-yard run by Arnold and a face mask penalty helped set up Fleming's five-yard TD. A pass on the PAT failed, and the Wolves trailed 23-18 with 7:54 left.

The next Viking possession was a killer for Coupeville. On a third-and-11 play, the Wolves stopped BC for a four-yard loss, but a personal foul netted a first down and allowed the Vikings to escape from having to punt from their own 26. It also allowed them to use up three more minutes before punting with 3:59 left.

Coupeville faced a fourth-and-eight, and on a gutty call by Maggio, Bayne rushed for 7.5 yards on an inside counter and BC took over with 2:43 left.

The Wolves got the ball back with 58 seconds left at its own 29 but did not threaten.

Coupeville finished with 342 yards; BC 283. The Vikings were led by quarterback Kemper McQuaid who hit 13 of 28 passes for 153 yards.

Defensively, Fleming collected nine tackles, Kole Kellison seven, and Korbin Korzan, Arnold and Nick Streubel six each. Bayne and Arnold snared interceptions.

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