South Whidbey football head coach Michael Coe firmly predicted that his Falcons would beat island rival Coupeville on Friday night at Waterman’s Field.
And as senior running back and linebacker Kohl Hunter put it, Coe signed the check and the team cashed it.
The Falcons beat the Wolves 27-14 with the help of a strong performance by the offense, which racked up 458 yards, paired with an equally as important effort on defense.
Hunter rushed for 145 yards and three touchdowns on 19 carries, while senior quarterback Charlie Patterson completed 15 of his 19 passing attempts for 169 yards and one touchdown. He also added four carries for 80 yards.
“It made me proud,” Coe said. “They bought in from the start. Words can’t explain how I feel. I’m just super proud of them. They just worked their butts off. They’ve done everything I’ve asked and then some.”
But, things didn’t start off all that smoothly.
After halting the Wolves on their opening drive, the Falcons’ offense tripped early and often.
Senior quarterback Charlie Patterson was intercepted twice on the Falcons’ first two offensive series. The first came on a bobbled catch by senior receiver Tanner Lobdell, while the next came on the heels of a 20-yard loss after a snap flew over Patterson’s head.
On the Falcons’ next series, senior Xavier Wilson fumbled a carry that was scooped by Wolves’ junior linebacker Jacob Martin who returned it 60 yards for a touchdown with 7:45 left in the second quarter.
The Falcons trailed by seven with less than 10 seconds to play in the half when they had Coupeville backed up on its own goal line.
South Whidbey forced a safety shortly after and entered halftime trailing, 7-2.
The Falcons’ troubles weren’t just confined to the field, either.
South Whidbey’s scoreboard appeared to have malfunctioned following the end of the second quarter. The scoreboard was blank throughout the third quarter, until the game clock re-appeared in the fourth quarter.
When the Falcons returned in the third quarter, their offense emerged with it.
Patterson connected with junior receiver Austin Sterba for a 25-yard touchdown with 8 minutes left in the third quarter with the Falcons ahead, 9-7.
The Wolves’ defense cracked in the fourth quarter.
Hunter rushed for the Falcons’ next three touchdowns, all of which came in a span of about four and a half minutes.
“We’re a well-conditioned team and our line just kept pushing and made it happen for me on offense,” Hunter said. “I give it all to them.”
Junior linebacker Hunter Newman helped solidify the game when he recovered a fumble and returned it 45 yards to the Wolves’ 7-yard line. Newman’s fumble recovery came a few plays after he dropped a near interception.
“Being a mike (middle) linebacker, you have to keep your head on a swivel at all times and fly to the ball,” Newman said. “I just tried to take it to the house.”
The turnover led to another rumbling score by Kohl Hunter.
“If you look at the scoreboard, it was a close game, but if you look at the numbers, yards, possessions, we controlled the ball the whole time,” Hunter said. “We made stupid mistakes, had a few turnovers that cost us but we came back and fixed those and capitalized on it.”
The Falcons gave up an 80-yard pass to Wolves’ senior receiver CJ Smith in the final minute of the game.
Coe said the game never seemed to be in doubt.
“I preach to the kids all the time about things we control and things we can do right,” Coe said. “All the things that we messed up on tonight, we can control and fix.”
South Whidbey will have a short week to prepare for this week’s opponent in Anacortes. The Falcons will play the Seahawks on the road on Sept. 11 at 7 p.m.
“I’m proud of the kids,” Coe said. “We’ll analyze this and we’ll work on what we need to fix. We won’t dwell on to it too long and then we’ll move on.”