As high school football fans girded for the second half of the game against Archbishop Murphy last week, they were introduced to the future of South Whidbey football.
At halftime, the seventh- and eighth-grade football teams from Langley Middle School were presented to the crowd.
Someday, not that far away, these young men will be trotting onto Waterman Field wearing Falcon blue-and-white.
What a future it might be. The seventh-graders had an unbeaten 5-0 season, scoring 160 points and allowing only six in return.
That’s right, four of their games were shutouts.
“Success can be measured in a lot of ways, perhaps the number of games a team wins, maybe the number of points they score or maybe even how few points they gave up,” Cougar coach Bill Patterson said. “By any measure, this was a successful year.”
“But this group of 20 seventh-graders, 16 of whom had never played football before they started to mold into a team,” Patterson said. “Stars were born, leaders evolved and the middle school ‘Dream Team’ emerged.”
Sharp-eyed readers will note the team roster includes familiar names — several have older brothers playing for the high school.
Players this season were Caleb Vaughn, Cameron Coupe, Nash Grimm, Trevor Mozingo, Steve Poolman, Benji Poirier, Aaron Curfman, Josh Bishop, Wesley Thorsen, Jordan Hoch, Trent Oken, Camden Buchanan, Isaac Thorsen, Chase Collins, Dane Heggenes, Mitchell Hughes, Jack Douglas, Jake Leonard, Patrick Monell and Taylor Simmons.
“We had fun being ‘Really Bad Cougs,’” Patterson said. He and Dave Guetlin shared coaching duties.
The eighth-grade varsity team went 4-2, losing two close games to Chimicum and Tolt.
“The team worked hard, were good sports and never quit,” said varsity head coach Tom Sage.
Defensive coach Chad Felgar noted that getting the boys into thinking as a team was critical.
“It’s exciting when they realize they can trust the guy next to them on the line,” Felgar said.
Varsity offensive starters included Sam Denka, Seth Eckert, Shane Ball, Tommy Mozingo, Montana Johnson, Sam Lee, Avery Buechner, Daniel Sage, Chris Penafiel, Casey Andrade, Mason Shouty and Matt Danner. Defensive starters included Patrick Parnell, Jeff Knunellis, Alex Boenish, Quinton Veirs, Oakley Haight, Ammon Christensen, Austin Baker, Jason Hicks, Garret Thomson, Taylor Todd and Patrick Riebel.
Touchdowns were scored by Buechner, Penafiel, Shoudy, Danner, Lee and Sage.
“And Avery (Buechner) was the league’s top running back,” Sage added. “Overall, they are a great group of young men.”
Falcon coach Mark Hodson understands the value of the Cougar’s performance.
“They’ll be coming out for us in a year or two and I’ll be happy to see them,” he said.