Hockinson coach Rick Steele honors a deal with player

Hawks coach has signature mustache shaved by player

HOCKINSON — Hockinson High School football coach Rick Steele is a man of his word, just as his players were this season.

When Hockinson’s football team gathered in August to begin official practice for the 2017 season, many of the Hawks’ players told their coach that they weren’t going to stop anything short of 14 wins this season. That’s exactly the number of victories Hockinson registered as the Hawks claimed the Class 2A high school football state championship with a perfect 14-0 season record.

Hockinson football players Canon Racanelli (12), Kyle Brabec (10) and Colton Wheeler (44) participate in a Friday assembly to celebrate the Hawks’ Class 2A state high school football championship. Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli (12) records the moment. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson football players Canon Racanelli (12), Kyle Brabec (10) and Colton Wheeler (44) participate in a Friday assembly to celebrate the Hawks’ Class 2A state high school football championship. Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli (12) records the moment. Photo by Mike Schultz

At some point during the process, Hockinson senior receiver Blake Sparks made a deal with his coach. If the Hawks won the state title, Steele would have to shave his signature mustache. On Friday morning, the Hawks celebrated their state championship at an assembly at the high school and the featured element of the event was Sparks doing the honors of removing the whiskers above his coach’s top lip.

Hockinson football coach Rick Steele (seated) got his mustache shaved by Hawks player Blake Sparks (right). Sparks made a deal with his coach that if the team won the Class 2A state championship, he would get to shave his coach’s signature mustache. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson football coach Rick Steele (seated) got his mustache shaved by Hawks player Blake Sparks (right). Sparks made a deal with his coach that if the team won the Class 2A state championship, he would get to shave his coach’s signature mustache. Photo by Mike Schultz

Hockinson football coach Rick Steele enjoys Friday’s assembly celebrating the Hawks’ state championship with granddaughter Lucy. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson football coach Rick Steele enjoys Friday’s assembly celebrating the Hawks’ state championship with granddaughter Lucy. Photo by Mike 1Schultz

“I didn’t tell my wife (Jill) so she’s not too happy about it,’’ Steele confessed. “She says it makes my nose look too big.’’

Everything Hockinson did this season could be described as big. The Hawks had one of the most prolific offenses in the state this season, regardless of classification. Hockinson scored 633 points in 14 games, an average of 45.2 points per game.

Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli finished his career with 9,970 yards passing, which is No. 7 all-time in Washington high school football history. His 124 touchdown passes are tied for seventh and his 57 touchdown passes in 2017 is No. 6 on the list of season bests.

Brother Sawyer Racanelli finished with 1,766 yards receiving and 27 touchdowns in 2017. Both are good for fourth for season bests in the history of Washington high school football.

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About The Author

Ken Vance got his start in the newspaper industry in 1987 as a reporter at The Columbian Newspaper in Vancouver. Vance graduated from Stevenson High School in Stevenson, WA, and attended Clark College in Vancouver. He worked for The Columbian from 1987-2001. He was most recently a staff member of The Reflector Newspaper in Battle Ground, where he served as editor since 2010 and reporter since 2007. Vance’s work in the newspaper industry has won him multiple awards, including a first place award from the Society of Professional Journalists for in-depth reporting.

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