Hawks fly high in opener

Paul Valencia, Reporter
Paul Valencia, Reporter

LA CENTER — The Hockinson Hawks are off to the kind of start that has to have them believing they will play long after these hot nights, all the way to the cold of November.

Yes, the Hawks looked that good Friday night against a quality team.

Canon Racanelli had a 300-yard game and threw for five touchdowns, plus he ran for one, and younger brother Sawyer Racanelli caught three TD passes in a 42-6 victory over La Center.

The defense held a team that reached the Class 1A state semifinals a year ago to one touchdown.

All in awe of Hockinson on this night.

New La Center Football Stadium. Photo by Mike Schultz
New La Center Football Stadium. Photo by Mike Schultz

“It’s just so exhilarating to go out there. We wanted to hit them,” Hockinson linebacker Joe Brennan said. “Everybody came to play. Everyone was ready.”

Interestingly, the Hawks were not so sure they were ready earlier this week.

“We didn’t have a very good practice on Wednesday,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said. “I just asked the guys, ‘What kind of team are we going to be?’ We’ve been waiting for the glue. Good teams play together. That’s what I wanted to see tonight. I think I did.”

New La Center Football Stadium. Photo by Mike Schultz
New La Center Football Stadium. Photo by Mike Schultz

Hockinson won the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League a year ago, while La Center not only won the Trico League but also advanced to the final four.

“I’m ecstatic,” Steele said. “That’s a darn good football team over there. I was worried about them.”

“We scored every time we touched the ball,” Canon Racanelli said. “You can’t ask for more.”

Hockinson wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli tackled by La Center Evan Honore and Colton Dolezal. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli tackled by La Center Evan Honore and Colton Dolezal. Photo by Mike Schultz

In fact, the only time the Hawks did not score is when they took a knee at the end of the game. Up until then, Hockinson had six possessions and six touchdowns.

Hockinson Quarterback Canon Racanelli. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson Quarterback Canon Racanelli. Photo by Mike Schultz

“It was a great way to start this off,” Canon Racanelli said. “We ran the ball well. We threw the ball well. It was hard for them to stop us.”

Jake Beslanowitch, in his first game at tight end, caught a 10-yard TD pass from Canon Racanelli to open the 2017 scoring.

Then the Racanelli combo struck. Canon found Sawyer for a 54-yard touchdown and a 13-0 lead.

La Center would engineer an 18-play drive to score on a 4-yard TD pass from Hayden Williamson to Evan Honore to make it a one-touchdown game with a minute to go in the first half.

Turned out, that was way too much time for the Hawks. On the next play from scrimmage, Canon to Sawyer again, this time for 52 yards and a 21-6 lead at the half.

La Center Running Back Wyatt Dodson. Photo by Mike Schultz
La Center Running Back Wyatt Dodson. Photo by Mike Schultz

Peyton Brammer converted a fourth-down play into a 17-yard touchdown on the first drive of the second half. The Hawks would go up 35-6 six minutes later when Canon found Sawyer on a 40-yard strike.

Canon used his legs for the final score of the game, faking out the La Center defense for a 41-yard touchdown run.

Canon finished 19 for 27 for 341 yards and five TD passes. Sawyer hauled in nine catches for 211 yards and three scores.

La Center’s Wyatt Dodson picked up 100-yard rushing game, recording 104 yards on 23 carries.

“With La Center, you try to hold them to three, four yards a play. They’re going to get that,” Steele said, noting his defense did bend a few times but only broke that one time.

“I think this year our defense is a lot more solid,” said Brennan, a 5-foot, 93/4-inch middle linebacker. “We have small linebackers, but we fill hard and get the job done.”

All the Hawks got the job done in Week 1.

While the home crowd did not like the result of Friday’s game, the La Center fans loved being part of a special night.

Hockinson tight end Jake Beslanowitch tackled by La Center's Evan Honore. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson tight end Jake Beslanowitch tackled by La Center’s Evan Honore. Photo by Mike Schultz

The field, the track, the stadium, all have been built the last three years, piece by piece, through donations, grants, fundraisers, and volunteers. No taxes. And on Friday, the next phase of the project debuted. La Center now has a roof over its home stands.

“It motivates me to do my best. If the community cares this much, it makes me more excited to do my part to make sure everything goes well,” said Matt Cooke, the school’s athletic director.

“It’s also heart-warming,” he added. “It’s got that small-town, raise-the-barn feel to it.”

Construction crews were still on hand when the game started, as extras are added to the facility.

“Every year, there’s something new,” Cooke said. “It’s like another present to open.”

The 2017 season has opened, too. Both teams have visions of long seasons. Friday night, Hockinson was closer to its long-term goal.


Hockinson 7 14 14 7—42

La Center 0 6 0 0—6

First quarter

H – Jake Beslanowitch 10 pass from Canon Racanelli (Nick Charles kick)

Second quarter

H – Sawyer Racanelli 54 pass from C. Racanelli (kick failed)

LC – Evan Honore 4 pass from Hayden Williamson (run failed)

H – S. Racanelli 52 pass from C. Racanelli (Peyton Brammer pass from C. Racanelli)

Third quarter

H – Brammer 17 pass from C. Racanelli (Charles kick)

H – S. Racanelli 40 pass from C. Racanelli (Charles kick)

Fourth quarter

H – C. Racanelli 41 run (Charles kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING: Hockinson: Bailey Jones 12-57, C. Racanelli 5-51, Levi Crum 2-10, Jonathan Domingos 2-33. La Center: Wyatt Dodson 23-104, Colton Dolezal 6-25, Honore 15-49, Williamson 1-4, Bryce Campbell 3-15, Nicholas Budke 2-9, Tom Lambert 8- (minus 27).

PASSING: Hockinson: C. Racanelli 19-27-0-341, Crum 1-2-0-5. La Center: Williamson 5-10-0-73, Lambert 2-3-0-38.

RECEIVING: Hockinson: Matt Henry 2-14, Kyle Brabec 1-17, Brammer 3-49, S. Racanelli 9-211, Beslanowitch 2-35, Nicholas Frichtl 1-6, Jones 1-9, Jeremy Faulstick 1-5. La Center: Dolezal 1-10, Honore 4-63, Andrew Scott 2-38.

This week’s scores

Team Score Team Score
Union 35 Hermiston (Ore.) 21
Evergreen  26 Columbia River 13
Hudson’s Bay 31 LaSalle (Ore.) 28
Skyview 31 Sunset (Ore.) 20
Camas  35 Central Catholic (Ore.) 13
Heritage  28 Prairie  14
Beaverton (Ore.) 47 Battle Ground 6
Hockinson  42 La Center 6
Washougal  54 West Seattle 0
Kalama  26 Woodland  14
Ridgefield  41 Castle Rock 0
Seton Catholic 49 Toledo (Ore.) 18

About The Author

Paul Valencia joins ClarkCountyToday.com after more than two decades of newspaper experience. He became the face of high school sports coverage in Clark County during his 17 years at The Columbian. Before moving to Vancouver, Paul worked at Oregon daily newspapers in Pendleton, Roseburg, and Salem. A graduate of David Douglas High School in Portland, Paul enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving three years as a soldier/journalist. He and his wife Jenny recently celebrated their 20th anniversary. They have a son who has a passion for karate and Minecraft. Paul’s hobbies include: Watching the Raiders play football, reading about the Raiders playing football, and waiting to watch and read about the Raiders playing football.

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