Wolves fill skill positions on gridiron

Coupeville’s defensive unit gets ready for the first game and puts the heat on the scout-team’s offense.  - Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times
Coupeville’s defensive unit gets ready for the first game and puts the heat on the scout-team’s offense.
— image credit: Tim Adams/Whidbey News-Times

Coupeville High School has a number of skill positions to fill on the football team due to players being lost to graduation. But with between 40 and 50 players out for the team and some strong interior linemen returning, coach Ron Bagby is upbeat about the Wolves’ chances in 2008.

Last year Coupeville has an unusual season as they were forced to forfeit two early non-league victories. Still, the Wolves finished 2-5 in the Cascade Conference and 3-8 overall, earning the league’s number one seed into the post season playoffs.

The Wolves defeated Friday Harbor 13-12 in a thriller at Mickey Clark Field in the opening round before being eliminated 30-6 by Orting in the second round game played at Oak Harbor’s Wildcat Memorial Stadium.

“We graded a lot of skilled seniors off last year’s team but you know what, we have a lot of skill players coming up to fill the holes,” Bagby said. “We’re a young team and we’re not going to be real big, but I think we’ll be faster than we were last year.”

Leading the returning interior linemen are seniors Curtis Habeck and Zach Pilant, along with juniors Zach Piercy and Davion Watkins.

“We’re moving Curtis to tight end and he has the potential to be an all-league player both ways,” Bagby said. “Davion will start both ways and we expect him to do real well. He played a lot for us last year.”

On offense, junior Jason Bagby takes over the starting quarterback duties and will be joined in the backfield by junior running back Justin Adams.

“Justin is going to be our workhorse running back this year and he will carry the ball a lot,” Bagby said.

Other players expected to see a lot of time on the field in 2008 are senior tackle Toby Platt, sophomore wide receiver/defensive back Ian Smith and sophomore receiver/defensive back Chase Griffin.

“Chase can play a lot of different positions including running back and we will use him a lot,” Bagby said. “He is a tough kid with a good attitude.”

Bagby said the Cascade Conference is going to be a strong league once again this year.

“Archbishop Murphy will be strong and they will probably throw the ball more than they have with Dave Ward coaching them,” Bagby said, referring to Oak Harbor’s former coach. “Cedarcrest is another of the teams that should be tough.”

Bagby said South Whidbey lost many starting players due to graduation, but had a great junior varsity team. He expects Sultan to be improved as well.

“We went up against Granite Falls and Lakewood at camp and we felt like we could play with those two teams,” Bagby said.

The Wolves open the season with a pair of non-league games against new opponents, Port Townsend and Lakeside, an upscale school from Seattle.

“We don’t know a lot about Port Townsend, but we do know they have a new head coach in Brian O’Hara, who used to be my assistant coach when I started at Coupeville 25 years ago, and I know he’ll have his team ready to play,” Bagby said.

Coupeville is playing up a little this year against its non-league opponents and Bagby said hopefully the team will be able spend a lot of time learning and getting some things figured out before the first league game against King’s.

“Our first league game is an important one that we need to win to secure the league’s number one Class 1A seed into the playoffs just like last year,” Bagby said. “A lot of schools think we won’t be as good this year because we lost a lot of players, but I think we are going to sneak up on some teams this season.”

Coupeville played at Port Townsend last night and squares off against Lakeside Friday, Sept. 12, in the first home game of the season.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

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