Coupeville tackles good cause

Only seconds into the game and the trash talking was in full effect.

A shout of “we have guys that want to block” echoed over Mickey Clark Field when the Coupeville football coaches gained several yards and a first down on their first play from scrimmage.

A verbal shot was returned on the ensuing play with “you expected your players to do it, you better do it too,” directed at CHS head coach Ron Bagby after he dropped a long pass thrown to him.

Words were maybe a little harsh, but the back-and-forth jeers weren’t intended to be mean-spirited.

In fact, it was all in good humor as the Coupeville football coaches and alumni clashed in the T.J. Roehl Memorial Turkey Bowl flag football game on Friday afternoon.

The game, in its second year of existence, was organized by Noah Roehl in order to raise money for a scholarship to honor father Tom, who passed away just over a year ago. Tom spent 18 years as an assistant coach for the high school program and was an integral part of youth athletics on Central Whidbey.

“This is great, it’s for a great cause,” 1997 CHS graduate and former football player Nick Sellgren said. “Tom was such a nice guy and a great coach.”

Bagby, who worked alongside Tom Roehl since he started his high school coaching career, couldn’t think of a better way to honor his friend.

“He just loved football — that’s what kept him going,” Bagby said. “This is just a great cause.”

Although the fundraising effort was a winning cause with about 30 participants and an additional 30 spectators, that was the only joy the coaches experienced.

Slightly slower than their younger counterparts, the Coupeville coaching staff lost by seven touchdowns, 69-14.

“We were pretty fast to start off, but our legs got a little tired,” an aching Bagby said.

The lack of speed resulted in the coaches often having to find other means than pulling a flag to bring an opponent down, hence the occasional hip check or outright tackle.

“I think the coaches were the worst at that,” Bagby said. “We were a little worried about the boys at first, but it turned out we were the roughest when it came to that.”

The coaches also had their problems with interceptions, throwing close to 10.

“We tried to go long too many times,” Bagby said.

Fortunately, when it was all said and done there were no major injuries on the field. Aside from a few strained hamstrings and aching backs everything went off without a hitch.

“This year with getting the coaches involved it worked out really nice,” Noah Roehl said. “We had a lot more people than before.”

Roehl, who got the idea for a Thanksgiving football game at college, has a goal over coming years to consistently involve more and more of the community and alumni.

“The oldest guy is my brother (1988) and the next class is the mid 90s,” he said. “It would be real nice to see some guys from the 70s and 80s — you could get a real mix then.”

As for the coaches — they’re already plotting revenge.

“We’re already working on our planning for next year,” Bagby said. “We’re going to have our quarterback work out a little bit before the game next time. I think we can stay with them if we can just complete the short passes.”

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