Injuries derailed what started out as a promising season last year for the Coupeville High School football team.
The Wolves won their first two games and three of the first five. From that point, the injuries — and losses — began to mount. Coupeville finished the season on a five-game losing streak.
The Wolves ended the year with five two-way starters sidelined, all skill players. Missing were the leading receiver and the top four running backs.
New coach Marcus Carr, who was named Northwest League Coach of the Year last season while leading Concrete to the conference title, is working to get the Wolves back to their winning ways.
“Our goal is to win league and make the playoffs,” he said.
That league title would come in the freshly formed North Sound Conference where the Wolves join South Whidbey, Granite Falls, Sultan, King’s and Cedar Park Christian-Bothell in the first year of the new alignment.
Carr added that it will be a successful season if Coupeville builds a winning record and qualifies for the postseason.
The Wolves’ success will be centered upon a sturdy running game, which Carr labeled as the team’s strength. The team’s four leading rushers all return this season.
A lack of depth with just over 20 players is the team’s greatest weakness, he added. Therefore, injuries could be even more devastating this fall if the Wolves can’t stay healthy.
Carr will lean on eight returning lettermen to pace the Coupeville attack.
Back are seniors Chris Battaglia, Ryan Labrador, Shane Losey, Dane Lucero and Jake Pease; and juniors Gavin Knoblich, Andrew Martin and Sean Toomey-Stout.
Also back is senior Alex Turner, who returns to Coupeville after going to school at South Whidbey for several years, where he earned all-conference honors.
Toomey-Stout was leading the team in rushing (224 yards) and tackles (27) last year before missing the final five games with an injury.
“The team has been working hard and I am looking forward to having a great season,” Carr said.
Coupeville (3-7 in 2017) starts the season with a non-league game at former Olympic League foe Port Townsend (3-7) at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31.
The first home game, another non-leaguer, is 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 7, when Vashon Island (2-8) visits.
Conference play begins when King’s (3-7) comes to Mickey Clark Field at 7 p.m. Friday, Sept. 28.