Hawks defeat Pullman 53-18 to advance to the quarterfinals of the Class 2A state high school football playoffs
BATTLE GROUND — Now 11 weeks into the season, the Hockinson Hawks still have barely been challenged.
At least on the scoreboard.
In practice and after games, they are challenging themselves … to play even better.
Canon Racanelli threw for 383 yards and seven touchdowns Friday afternoon, and the Hawks crushed Pullman 53-18 in the opening round of the Class 2A state high school football playoffs at District Stadium.
Hockinson (11-0) will host a quarterfinal game next week, tentatively scheduled for Saturday.
The Hawks are not going overboard with any celebration just yet. They have much more to accomplish.
“In our opinion, we didn’t play very good today,” Racanelli said. “We came out, missed some blocks, all my reads weren’t perfect. But we really came together in the second half.”
The Greyhounds would beg to differ on that whole “didn’t play very good” though. The Hawks played fine enough for a three-touchdown first quarter lead at 20-0.
“We’re always trying to start off strong, set the tone with the intensity,” said Matt Henry, who caught a 75-yard touchdown bomb on the first play from scrimmage. “That’s what we did.
“That’s the mentality. Start fast and strong. Keep the foot on the pedal.”
Racanelli escaped from a near sack to find Henry on a 27-yard touchdown pass for the second TD of the quarter. Then Racanelli threw a 29-yard TD pass to Peyton Brammer.
Through the first 10 games, Hockinson won by an average of 37 points per game. The blowout string continued into the first round of state.
“You get up 20, that’s huge,” Racanelli said. “The opponents, it puts everyone’s hopes down. And then we have to keep rolling.”
Pullman got on the board with a safety, but the Hawks responded with three more touchdowns in the second quarter.
This time Sawyer Racanelli got into the end zone. And then he got into the end zone again before many fans sat down from his first touchdown.
Sawyer caught an 11-yard TD pass from older brother Canon to make it 26-2. On Pullman’s next play from scrimmage, Sawyer Racanelli intercepted a pass and returned it 18 yards for a touchdown.
That was two Sawyer Racanelli TDs in a span of 15 game seconds, pushing the Hockinson lead to 33-2.
The Hawks used a 2-minute drill to go 91 yards just before the half, with Canon connecting with Henry again, this time on an 18-yard pass.
Canon would add two more touchdown passes in the second half. In the game, he completed 25 of 35 passes for his 383 yards.
Henry finished with six catches for 162 yards and three touchdowns.
“Matt played great tonight,” Canon Racanelli said. “We talk about people having huge games in different weeks. Last week it was Jake (Beslanowitch). This game, it was Matt. We’re hard to defend because we have so many weapons.”
Henry, who did not play last week, said he missed the action so much and that he was thrilled to be able to help the Hawks this week. He also figured he would see the ball a lot. The Hawks knew Pullman would have to cover Sawyer and Beslanowitch after their recent performances.
Still, Canon Racanelli was not satisfied.
“The expectation is here,” he said, pointing high. “We didn’t achieve it. We want to play good games, good games, good games. But a win is a win is a win. It was 53 points. That’s not too bad.”
The Hawks feel this way because they don’t feel like they have reached their potential just yet. This will be the third time in four seasons Hockinson has reached the quarterfinals of the state playoffs.
“First time, we got our (butts) kicked. The second time, we had learned it is a whole different level of football. Lost by a field goal,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said. “We’re not happy just getting to the quarterfinals now. There are bigger games down the road, and we want to be in the top four.”
Which is why the Hawks did not celebrate too much Friday.
“We’re 1-0,” Steele told the Hawks after the victory, referring to being 1-0 in the state playoffs.
Then he stayed quiet for a few seconds.
“Now we’re 0-0. You got to be 1-0 for about five seconds. Now we’re 0-0.”
Time to get ready for the quarterfinals.
HOCKINSON 53, PULLMAN 18
Pullman 0 2 6 10 — 18
Hockinson 20 19 7 7 — 53
H — Matt Henry 75 pass from Canon Racanelli (kick blocked)
H — Henry 27 pass from C. Racanelli (Peyton Brammer pass from C. Racanelli)
H — Brammer 29 pass from C. Racanelli (PAT failed)
P — Safety, Ty Hendrickson sacks QB in end zone
H — Sawyer Racanelli 11 pass from C. Racanelli (kick failed)
H — S. Racanelli 19 interception return (Nick Charles kick)
H — Henry 18 pass from C. Racanelli (pass failed)
P — Isaiah Strong 7 pass from TJ Newman (run failed)
H — Brammer 5 pass from C. Racanelli (Charles kick)
H — S. Racanelli 16 pass from C. Racanelli (Charles kick)
P — Kaden Hildenbrand 35 FG
P — 18 interception return (Hildenbrand kick)
RUSHING: Pullman: Jed Byers 2-14, Dylan Hodge 11-29 James Pitzer 6-19, Hildenbrand 1-1, Newman 5-(minus 20), Jake Wells 1-(minus 3), Connor Coutler 2-8, Jared Holstad 1-(minus 3) Hockinson: Colton Wheeler 6-20, C. Racanelli 9-59, Bailey Jones 8-59, Jonathan Domingos 1-0, Levi Crum 1-(minus 5), Team 1-(minus 1).
PASSING: Pullman: Byers 1-1-0-7, Wells 0-1-1-0, Newman 8-21-2-64, Holstad 0-1-0-0. Hockinson: C. Racanelli 25-35-0-383, Crum 0-1-1-0.
RECEIVING: Pullman: Strong 3-26, Wells 3-43, Hodge 1-(minus 2), Hildenbrand 2-4. Hockinson: Henry 6-162, Wheeler 2-27, S. Racanelli 8-76, Crum 1-10 Brammer 7-76, Jake Beslanowitch 1-11, Jones 1-14, Wesley Kainu 1-7.