For another 365 days, South Whidbey owns The Bucket.
South Whidbey rebounded from a tough road loss and hit the grass running against Coupeville High School. The Falcons relied on junior quarterback Avery Buechner and its defense to beat Whidbey Island rival Coupeville 33-7.
The Bucket is painted in half between blue and red — the colors of South Whidbey and Coupeville. For the Falcons, the rivalry win helps define the entire season.
“It’s the pride of the Island,” said South Whidbey head coach Andy Davis. “Without question.”
Senior co-captain and defensive end Tyler “Chuck” Norris explained one of the season’s focal points was the game against Coupeville.
“With everything we do, it’s ‘Beat Coupeville,’” Norris said.
Take away the late fourth quarter score by the Wolves and South Whidbey played a shutout. Coupeville gained 85 passing yards and
85 rushing yards, but most of the rushing yards came late in the fourth quarter on the Wolves’ only scoring drive.
Buechner and the Falcons scored first in the first quarter after a 35-yard pass to senior receiver TJ Russell.
Russell’s catch set up South Whidbey’s quarterback sneak and Buechner’s first score of the night.
“Coach Davis called the plays,” said Buechner of his scoring success. “We played our three best linemen on the left side and we just ran to the left side.”
Then the Falcon defense took over, which gave its offense plenty of time (Coupeville had only 14 second-half plays). South Whidbey didn’t allow Coupeville anywhere near the South Whidbey end zone until late in the fourth quarter. Davis praised defensive ends Norris and Mason Shoudy for pressuring the quarterback and stopping the ground game.
“Pressure had a lot to do with it,” Norris said. “Also, just the rivalry with the emotions and the will to not give in.”
By halftime South Whidbey led 7-0.
On the second-half kickoff drive by South Whidbey, Buechner again scored — this time on a 15-yard run.
“Our [offensive] line guys did a great job,” Davis said.
Later in the third quarter, Buechner again found the end zone on a nine-yard run. Buechner finished with 13 carries for 91 yards and three touchdowns.
In the fourth quarter, Pat Monell scored on a nine-yard run, and a field goal by Cameron Coupe capped the Falcons’ scoring for the night at 33 points. South Whidbey put in its backup players, and Coupeville kept in its varsity seniors on the home-team’s senior night, which allowed the Wolves to record a touchdown.
After grabbing at least one interception in the past two games, South Whidbey won without a single interception. Davis credited Coupeville’s offensive scheme, which favored short passes on the perimeter. He also highlighted performances from defensive players Jeremiah Robey, Austin Bennett and Russell. He gave special praise to backup linebacker Mitchell Hughes, who had his first varsity start Friday night in place of injured starter Garrett Thomson.
South Whidbey gained 205 rushing yards and 105 passing yards. Buechner led both stats, but wasn’t satisfied with his passing game.
“I had a rough night as far as completions go,” Buechner said.
South Whidbey hosts Lakewood (3-1, 6-2 overall) on Thursday, Oct. 28 for Senior Night.
Lakewood has one of the top quarterbacks in the state in Justin Lane, who verbally committed to Illinois State.
“It comes down to that kid making plays,” said Norris of Lane. “He’s athletic, he can throw and he can run.”