Sports

Wolves win 13-12 thriller

Who let the dogs out?

The Wolves let the dogs out — in the second half.

The 2007 season has been one of frustration and heartache for the Coupeville High School football team.

Forfeited games, injuries to key players and games where the Wolf Pack put forth enough effort to win but somehow the victory slipped away — the beleaguered red, black and white has been through a lot on the gridiron this year.

It was way past time for something good to happen and at Thursday afternoon’s playoff game against Friday Harbor, that’s exactly what transpired.

Trailing 12-0, Coupeville scored a pair of touchdowns in the final 6:27 of the game to pull out a 13-12 victory over the Wolverines.

As an added bonus, the Wolf Pack’s next game is Tuesday night at the new Wildcat Memorial Stadium in Oak Harbor.

“The kids really deserved this after all they’ve been through this season,” coach Ron Bagby said.

Almost like it was last year when the two teams met at Mickey Clark Field in the first playoff game, the Wolverines moved the

ball at will on the ground in their first series of plays.

Following the opening kickoff, quarterback Michael Ausilio directed a seven-play, 80-yard drive capped off by Austin Scheffer’s 18-yard touchdown run.

“Other than that first series, our defense played wonderful. I was really proud of them,” Bagby said.

The point-after kick failed and as things turned out later in the game, the extra point miss was a key factor in the outcome.

Things got even bleaker for Coupeville when Friday Harbor scored its second touchdown with 1:48 remaining before halftime when Eddie Nash scooted in on a 5-yard run off an option play.

Ausilio tried to run for the 2-point conversion but was stopped short and the Wolverines went into the locker room with a 12-0 lead.

The Wolf Pack had chances to score in the first half, but Gary Manker missed a pair of field goals of 33 and 32 yards.

The tide turned in a major way for Coupeville in the second half when the defensive team stepped things up and held the Wolverines to a mere 11 yards in total offense and just one first down.

The third quarter was scoreless, but Coupeville had its chances recovering a pair of fumbles. However, the Wolf Pack was unable to score and turned the ball over twice on downs.

“Offensively, we had some trouble down in the red zone and missed a couple of field goals,” Bagby said. “It wasn’t all us, I have to give some of it to them. They have a good defense and they played pretty doggone well.”

With 7:44 remaining in the game, defensive back Kyle Wilcox picked off an Ausilio pass and the Wolves were in business at the Wolverines’ 5-yard line.

“This is amazing,” quarterback James Smith said. “We came out and we thought we were going to blow them back and it didn’t happen. They are a great football team.”

Three plays later, Steven McDonald punched the ball in from two yards out and Manker’s kick made the score 12-7.

“Oh, wow, going into that last quarter I had so many things going through my head,” said Alex Evans, who recovered one of the two third-quarter fumbles. “I thought this could be my last game as a senior, but we pulled it out. I can’t wait to play at Oak Harbor stadium, it’s going to be cool.”

Friday Harbor went three plays and out after the kickoff and punted the ball away, and Coupeville took over possession at its own

29-yard line with 4:16 remaining.

Then came the game-winning drive.

On a fourth and nine situation at the Wolverines’ 44-yard line with 2:24 left, Smith was flushed out of the pocket and scrambled around before hitting Clay Hughes with a 14-yard pass for a first down.

Smith completed two more passes and was then looking at third and six at the Friday Harbor 14-yard line.

With 1:06 left in the game Smith was once again forced to scramble and managed to stay on his feet after being hit by two Friday Harbor players. The senior quarterback looked around while on the run and found McDonald open in the middle of the end zone, hitting him with a pass for the game-winning score.

“It was all James,” McDonald

said. “He put it right in my hands,

all I had to do was put them out.”

“We kept telling our kids ‘we have time, we have time,’ and we were able to pull it out,” Bagby said, “It was a sweet win.”

Hughes was the leading rusher for Coupeville gaining 94 yards on 24 carries. Smith was 18-for-29 in passing for 177 yards with a touchdown and one interception.

Senior lineman Powers Lohner summed it up the best. “This is the greatest team alive,” he said.

Coupeville squares off against Orting High School Tuesday at Wildcat Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

Coupeville 13, Friday Harbor 12

First quarter

FH — Austin Scheffer 18 run (Kick failed) 9:52

Second quarter

FH — Eddie Nash 5 run (Run failed) 1:48

Fourth quarter

C — Steven McDonald 2 run (Gary Manker kick) 6:27

C — McDonald 14 pass from James Smith (Pass failed) 1:06

Game stats Friday Harbor Coupeville

First downs 8 16

Rushes-yards 30-125 52-98

Passing yards 32 177

Comp-Att 1-6-3 0 18-29-1 1

Fumbles-lost 3-2 1-0

Sacks-yards lost 0-0 2-18

Penalties-yards 9-80 9-85

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS

RUSHING — Friday Harbor: Mike Short 6-46, Eddie Nash 9-40, Austin Scheffer 3-22, Michael Ausilio 9-21, Erik Nash 2-0, Justin James 1-minus 4. Coupeville: Clay Hughes 24-94, Steven McDonals 6-7, James Smith 18-1, Kyle Wilcox 1-0, Dillon Hall 3-minus 4.

PASSING— Friday Harbor: Ausilio 1-6-3 0 32. Coupeville: Smith 18-29-1 1 177.

RECEIVING — Friday Harbor: Miguel Medina 1-32. Coupeville: McDonald 7-75, Alex Evans 7-54, Wilcox 3-34, Hughes 2-18, Danny Brown 1-14.

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