The Racanelli brothers of Hockinson dedicate season to their late grandfather, while their great-grandmother celebrates.
There are said to be dozens of fans of Meridian High School who will be going to the Tacoma Dome a little early on Saturday, just to cheer for the Hockinson Hawks.
Win or lose in the Class 2A state championship game, there will be a number of Hockinson fans who will stick around the dome for the 1A title game, to cheer for the Meridian Trojans.
It is a family thing. A sports family, in fact, that has ties going on decades that started with a family buying property in Clark County 65 years ago.
Canon Racanelli and Sawyer Racanelli have helped the Hawks get to the championship game in a season they dedicated to their grandfather, Roger Seekins, who died last spring.
Roger’s mom, Reha, is 95 and still lives in Clark County. And she has four great-grandchildren playing in the Tacoma Dome this week. The Racanelli brothers will play at 10 a.m. and then Simon Burkett will quarterback Meridian at 1 p.m, while his younger brother Grady is expected to be in uniform.
“Not very many people have cousins from the other side of the state playing in state championship games,” Sawyer Racanelli said. “It’s crazy.”
The Racanelli brothers joined forces with Simon this past summer in a 7-on-7 tournament. Burkett, who intends to sign with Eastern Washington University, was the quarterback on that squad, so Canon, also a quarterback, played wide receiver, just like his brother. Together, they won the competition and won a trip to Los Angeles, Canon said.
They all hope to win again Saturday, albeit on different teams in different classifications.
Reha has a tough time getting to the games these days but she follows the teams.
“I get on my computer and watch them,” she said.
Parents, grandparents and great-grandparents in this family are always keeping in touch with the athletic accomplishments in the family tree.
Roger has been described as one of the best running backs in Evergreen High School history. Later, his two sons played football at Mountain View High School.
As far as the family members in Saturday’s title games, they got a double boost of athletic ability from their blood. There are the Seekins, plus Josh Racanelli and Rob Burkett each played at Mountain View and would go on to play college football.
By the way, this could go on and on. There are other Seekins playing college sports today, too, men and women.
With so many talented athletes, that means there have been a lot of big games, incredible celebrations, and tough setbacks. That’s sports. That’s life. And this Saturday will be one of the biggest days in this family’s sporting history, no matter the result.
“It would really be something if both Hockinson and Meridian won,” Reha said.
The support will be there. One of Meridian football’s twitter accounts asked Meridian fans to get to the dome early to cheer on the Hawks, to cheer for Simon’s cousins. Both Sawyer and Canon were touched by the sentiment.
Of course, they are not surprised by the support, not with their family.
Roger Seekins made it to just about every event he could for his grandchildren. In one of his last outings, he attended a passing clinic for Canon.
“As sick and as weak as he was, that’s where he was,” said Jerilue Hopley, Roger’s sister and the grandmother of Simon and Grady Burkett. “He was a diehard fan of those boys. Not just those boys, but all of his grandkids.”
In fact, Roger’s last advice to the adults around him was to remind them not to miss out on any of their children’s events.
Canon and Sawyer often bring up their grandfather in interviews. Their tribute has not gone unnoticed by their great-grandmother.
“They knew how much he did for them. The night he passed away, they were right there by his bedside,” Reha said. “That’s pretty deep love.”