Eagles soar over Wolves

If someone left after the first quarter of the Coupeville High School football game Friday night, hearing the final score was probably rather shocking.

After jumping out to a 12-0 lead over Life Christian in the first eight minutes of the contest, the Wolves looked to be in control of every facet of the game. Coupeville was successfully running the ball, throwing the ball and keeping the Life Christian offense at bay on their own end of the field.

“We had the adrenaline flowing and everything,” sophomore quarterback Mike Bagby said.

The Wolves, however, weren’t able to maintain that first quarter adrenaline for the remainder of the contest. An Eagles touchdown right before the half and 21 unanswered second-half points, provided Life Christian a 28-12 win and handed Coupeville its second loss of the season.

“The second half, defensively, they started bringing people on blitzes and we couldn’t pick them up, we couldn’t run the ball and we didn’t have any time to throw the ball,” Coupeville head coach Ron Bagby said.

The Coupeville offense appeared unstoppable in the first quarter. On the opening drive of the game, the Wolves had five straight runs for positive yards by sophomore running back J.J. Marti. They then showed Life Christian they could also pass the ball. Coming back from an injury to the wrist of his throwing arm the previous week against Cascade Christian, Bagby proved his arm was as good as new.

On his first pass play from scrimmage, he aired the ball out down the left sidelines to senior wide receiver Joe Rojas, who leapt over the defender and took it 47-yards for the touchdown.

“I knew that their corners weren’t very strong and I put it up there and put in the right spot and Joe came down with it,” Bagby said. “It was the highlight of our night.”

Holding the Eagles to a three and out possession on their first offensive drive of the game, Coupeville quickly got their offense working again. Using a combination of throws and runs, the Wolves pounded the ball down to the 2-yard line of Life Christian. After throwing for one touchdown, Bagby called his own number on a bootleg run to the left side, scoring the Wolves’ second touchdown with 4:10 remaining in the first quarter. The two-point attempt was no good, after Marti received the Bagby pass, but was unable to get across the goal line.

Unfortunately for Coupeville, this is where their scoring ended.

Life Christian took advantage of a late first-half turnover that ended up being key for the Eagles.

With 1:04 remaining in the half, Bagby fumbled the ball as he readied to make a pass. The Eagles recovered the ball on the Wolves’ 32-yard line and made the best of the situation. Life Christian back-up quarterback Geoffrey Spillers connected with Tyler Hjelseth on the 3-yard line with 26 seconds to go in the half. Fullback Ryan Dyer followed with a hard run into the endzone, making the score 12-7 at halftime.

“That touchdown right before the half really switched momentum,” Bagby said. “Whether we were tired or what, we just never got it back going.”

The Eagles went up for good on a 39-yard pass from Spillers to Mark Curran to make it 13-12 with 6:21 left in the third quarter. After they went up, Life Christian used a power running game to contain the ball for most of the second half, scoring on runs of 18 and 14-yards. The fullback, Dyer, was key to the Eagles hanging on to the ball for so long, as he rushed for 164 yards on 28 carries.

“He just wore us down,” coach Bagby said. “We thought we might be able to wear him down. We kept pounding and pounding on him, but he just wore us down.”

Marti led Coupeville with 83 yards on 15 carries, while Bagby was 12-for-29 passing for 133-yards and one interception.

Defensively, senior linebacker Casey Mitchell paved the way for Coupeville with 19 tackles, followed by Rojas and Marti with 12.

Coupeville, now 1-2 overall, plays at 7 p.m. this Friday, Sept. 26 at home against another tough non-league opponent in Kings.

“It doesn’t get any easier,” coach Bagby said. “They’ve got a good football team and they’ve got a good quarterback.”

Life Christian 28, Coupeville 12

Life Christian 0 7 14 7—28

Coupeville 12 0 0 0—12

Coupeville-Rojas 37-yard pass from Bagby (kicked failed); Coupeville-Bagby 2-yard run (2-point conversion failed) Life Christian-Dyer 3-yard run (Zandiprovskiy good); Life Christian-Curran 40-yards pass from Spillers (kick failed); Life Christian-Spillers 22-yard run (Dyer 2-point conversion); Dyer 12-yard run (Zandiprovskiy good).

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