Shutout wraps Cougar season

Langley Middle School running back Danny Zuver gets stopped cold early in the Cougar
Langley Middle School running back Danny Zuver gets stopped cold early in the Cougar's 8-0 shutout of the Sultan Skyhawks. Zuver and company wrapped up a 5-1 season Tuesday with an unexpected defensive battle that kept Sultan off guard to the end.
— image credit: Jeff VanDerford

The Langley Middle School Cougars finished their sterling 5-1 season Tuesday with an 8-0 victory over their long-time rival the Sultan Skyhawks.

After averaging 30 points in each of the previous five games, against Sultan the Cougar defense took over, producing the year's first shutout before 50 appreciative parents and fans.

Running back Danny Zuver scored the only goal on a four-yard charge with 1:22 left in the first quarter. Jordan Thornley's point-after brought the score to 8-0 -- that's right, in middle school a run is worth a single point, a kick, two.

"The rationale is so players learn the kicking game," Coach Bill Patterson noted.

Other differences from high school include 10-minute periods (games are fast), "going for it" on fourth down and a lack of bleachers for onlookers.

The vaunted Skyhawk running attack was shut down, forcing them to throw but the Cougar defense kept Sultan at bay. Jon Poolman's interception with 10 seconds on the clock eliminated any Sultan hopes for a comeback.

"I was glad to see our defense flex their muscle; I was tired of being in a scoring contest with other teams," Patterson said. They had outscored their last two opponents (King's and Coupeville) 58-38.

"This was a great team to coach, they had great character and, frankly, my main job was to stay out of their way and let them play," Patterson added.

The coach said his players will be missed at the middle school, but will be most welcome at South Whidbey High.

As the day faded and realization set in that they wouldn't be playing as Cougars again, Zuver told his buddies, "Guys, don't take this the wrong way, but I love you guys."

The first season has ended for Langley Middle School, but practice begins for girl's soccer Oct. 24 and boy's basketball Oct. 27.

First games are Nov. 9 and Nov. 14 respectively, both against Granite Falls.

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