It’s how you finish.
Coupeville High School football coach Jon Atkins acknowledged that the Wolves had a tough time closing out games last fall. No so Friday night at South Whidbey. The Wolves scored three fourth-quarter touchdowns to defeat the rival Falcons 18-0 in the season opener.
With the win, Coupeville retained The Bucket for the fourth time in six years.
As is often the case with first games, the play was sloppy at times.
“It wasn’t the prettiest of things,” Atkins said, “but I am happy with the way we played, especially the finish. We had a hard time executing at the end of games last year.”
It also took some time for the Wolves to sharpen their execution Friday.
“We had a couple of plays here or there in the first half that would have changed the game,” Atkins said. “We just missed on a couple of deep balls; we just missed on a couple of blocks. We were in the red zone twice and couldn’t score.”
Senior Cameron Toomey-Stout started the torrid finish with an interception late in the third quarter, setting up the first touchdown drive.
Hunter Downes hit Hunter Smith with a scoring strike about two minutes into the final period. Several plays after the following kickoff, Jake Pease recovered a Falcon fumble. On Coupeville’s first play, Sean Toomey-Stout gathered a short Downes’ pass and zipped through the South Whidbey defense for a 57-yard touchdown.
In the final minutes, Downes flipped a short toss to Smith, who turned it into an 89-yard score.
That finished a record-setting night for Smith. With his first of seven catches in the game, he broke the school career receiving yardage mark. By the end of the night, he amassed 200 yards to up his three-year, one-game total to 1,535 yards. Chad Gale set the old mark 20 years ago with 1,345.
Smith’s 200 yards was only two yards short of Gale’s single-game record of 202 set in 1987.
Downes completed 13 of 26 passes for 310 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions.
Sean Toomey-Stout caught one pass for 57 yards and a touchdown, ran five times for 54 yards and had a team-high 14 tackles.
“He was all over the field,” Atkins said of the sophomore defensive back. “He was flying around; it’s great to have him back there.”
Cameron Toomey-Stout finished with two interceptions; Shane Losey recorded three quarterback hurries; Chris Battaglia chipped in with 12 tackles and caused a fumble; Jake Hoagland, Julian Welling and Pease all recovered fumbles; and Dane Lucero and James Vidoni caused fumbles.
Coupeville plays La Conner at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 8, at Mickey Clark Field. The Braves are ranked sixth in the preseason 2B state poll.