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Falcons wrap up regular season with 28-6 win over Wolves
LANGLEY — In a match-up of flu-fatigued football teams, the Falcons earned a healthy win over the Wolves, topping Coupeville 28-6 Thursday at Waterman Field.
Both teams have been fighting the flu bug in recent weeks, and the Wolves forfeited last week against Cedarcrest when the Coupeville crew couldn’t field enough players due to illness and injuries.
A sluggish start to the cross-island contest showed both teams had not yet fully recovered, with South Whidbey not scoring until time had run out in the first quarter. Still, the Falcons never trailed, and led 14-0 at the half.
“You can tell both teams had a lot of kids sick this week, and so there was a lot of misalignment stuff, a lot of just uninspired play on both sides,” said Falcon co-coach Mark Hodson.
In a word, it was clumsy.
“Both teams, we’ve had such limited practice time with our kids, that’s why you’re seeing misalignment stuff,” Hodson added. “We took two timeouts in the first five minutes of the game because we weren’t working our personnel groups in very good. And that’s just because we just haven’t been able to have a practice for two weeks. It’s been bits and pieces here and there.”
Even so, the win was just what the doctor ordered for South Whidbey (4-3 league, 5-4 overall). It pushed the Falcons into post-season play as the No. 3 seed out of the Cascade Conference. Coupeville finished the season at 2-5, 4-5.
The two teams battled at midfield for much of the first quarter, though the Wolves got an opportunity on a blocked punt early on but failed to capitalize. The Falcon defense came up big in the quarter, stopping the Wolves on repeated fourth-down conversion attempts, and a Dillon Parrick sack of Coupeville quarterback Jason Bagby for a 10-yard loss put the Falcon faithful in a fever.
The Falcons’ first touchdown was set up by an 8-yard pass to Tyler “Chuck” Norris, who bobbled the ball before regaining control as he tiptoed along the right sideline to the 22-yard line.
Rawls punched it in from eight yards out for the score as the quarter expired, and TJ Russell — who was 4-for-4 perfect on point-after attempts — made it 7-0 for South Whidbey.
South Whidbey’s second score came late in the second quarter. Rawls connected with Norris on a 33-yard heave over the middle, and Norris broke several tackles to take it into Coupeville country.
Rawls, under heavy pressure, popped a 12-yard completion to Dakota Hanna, then connected on a 17-yard fling to Russell to bring the Falcons to the 27-yard line with a minute and change left in the half.
Rawls then found Norris all alone for another 17-yard strike, and Norris strolled untouched into the end zone for the 13-0 lead.
In the second half, the Falcons rediscovered their running game and put the ball in Henry Mead’s hands as often as possible. Mead rambled for 33 yards in the quarter enroute to a 113-yard game.
Coupeville picked up its only score of the game on a Bagby pass to Wolves running back Dalton Engle with 5:08 left to play.
Joe Kinser easily broke through the Coupeville line, though, and blocked the point-after attempt.
The Falcons scored twice in the fourth. The first TD came on a 3-yard run by Danny Zuver that was set up by a 25-yard pass to Poolman, who pulled it down at the Coupeville 3-yard line with 8:35 remaining.
The final TD came after the Falcons recovered the ensuing kick at the Coupeville 35-yard line.
Mead put the Falcons in the red zone with an amazing 30-yard run that ended at the 8-yard line. He broke three tackles and faked out another Coupeville defender with a deft spin move before being stopped. Mead then punched it in from five yards out with 7:46 left to play.
Sick all week and recovering from the flu, Mead sat out the first half.
“At halftime, we said, ‘Henry, you’re playing,’” Hodson said.
“We said, ‘We’re going to sit you in the first half and let you have the second half.’ He’s that good.”
Dustin Varney finished with 11 carries for 76 yards. Poolman had 18 yards on two carries and Zuver, seven carries for 18 yards.
Rawls connected on 15-of-22 passes for 237 yards.
The Falcons had 245 yards on the ground.
Russell had six receptions for 101 yards. Norris had four for 73, Poolman added two for 42.
Bagby completed 15-of-30 passes for Coupeville and 167 yards. The Wolves had 32 rushing yards.
Great defense was the reason for the win, Hodson said. He said the defensive front of Parrick, Norris and Kinser was key.
“We played a three-front all night, and those three caused a lot of disruption in the backfield,” Hodson said.
The Falcons’ first opponent in the offseason was not decided before the Record’s press time Friday