Hockinson in familiar position atop of the Class 2A Greater St. Helens League standings

Hawks look to remain unbeaten with this week’s matchup at Columbia River

Hockinson Hawks (6-0, 4-0 2A GSHL)

Week 1: Hockinson 42, La Center 6

Week 2: Hockinson 42, Prairie 6

Week 3: Hockinson 49, Woodland 27

Week 4: Hockinson 42, Ridgefield 15

Week 5: Hockinson 46, Mark Morris 0

Week 6: Hockinson 41, Washougal 7

Next: at Columbia River, 7 p.m. Friday

Only one team could leave the field undefeated last week. Hockinson is clearly the one team from the 2A GSHL.

Special appearance from Mr. Vance:

Most of the notes below come from ClarkCountyToday.com editor Ken Vance, who made his triumphant return to covering high school football last week. (We wanted to be at two huge games, so I went to the Camas-Skyview game and Ken headed east to Washougal for the Hockinson game.)

Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli (12) completed passes to 11 different receivers in Friday’s win at Washougal. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli (12) completed passes to 11 different receivers in Friday’s win at Washougal. Photo by Mike Schultz

A little razzle dazzle:

On Hockinson’s first offensive possession of Friday’s game at Washougal, the Hawks used a bit of trickery and the play put them in position for their first score of the game.

Facing a third-and-7 situation on Washougal’s 22-yard line, Hockinson opted to call a hook-and-ladder, which turned into a 19-yard gain and gave the Hawks a first-and-goal opportunity at the 3-yard line.

On the play, quarterback Canon Racanelli threw a swing pass into the flat to brother Sawyer Racanelli who immediately tossed the football backward to Colton Wheeler, who was streaking around the right end from his running back position.

Two plays later, Wheeler finished the 10-play, 65-yard scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown run to give the Hawks their first score of the game.

Climbing that ladder:

After the game, Canon Racanelli continued a theme that he and his Hawks’ teammates have been focusing on since practices began in the summer.

The senior quarterback was a part of two Hockinson teams that advanced to the Class 2A state quarterfinals in back-to-back seasons (2014 and 2015). Those two teams each won 11 games, or three fewer than is needed to sweep the regular season and advance all the way to a state championship.

After the Hawks’ victory at Washougal Friday, Racanelli was asked how this year’s team was progressing.

“Every week it’s another step on the ladder; that’s what we talk about,’’ said Racanelli of the Hawks’ 6-0 start to the 2017 season. “We’ve got eight games left. That’s what I’m looking forward to.’’

OK coach, we’ll talk about your defense:

After Friday’s game, Hockinson coach Rick Steele told ClarkCountyToday.com that while he appreciates all the attention the Hawks’ high-flying offense receives, “people got to start talking about our defense too.’’

If Hockinson’s defense continues to play the way it did in the win over the Panthers, the coach will get his wish.

The Hawks were at their best in the first half when they limited Washougal to just 62 yards of total offense (38 yards passing, 24 yards rushing).

Hockinson was at its best late in the second quarter when the Hawks intercepted Washougal quarterback Ryan Stevens on back-to-back pass plays, sandwiched around a scoring drive that resulted in a Racanelli-to-Racanelli touchdown pass that made the score 34-0.

First, junior Wyatt Jones picked off Stevens. The number of the second Hockinson thief wasn’t visible.

In addition to the stellar defensive play throughout the first half, and game for that matter, Sawyer Racanelli (the recipient of two scoring passes from brother Canon Racanelli) closed out the first half with a sack of Stevens for a 15-yard loss that thwarted a Panthers’ drive that had reached midfield.

The Hawks’ defensive effort was even more impressive considering it came against a previously undefeated Washougal team that entered the game averaging 33.2 points in its five games this season.

Coach Speak:

What did Rick Steele think about his team in Week 6? We played a complete game. Offense, defense, special teams were all excellent. They are a good team, and we were able to control them in all areas of the game. Proud of my boys.”

MVP on offense: Broken record. Canon Racanelli. Kid had a great game,’’ Steele said. “The offense as a whole was really good. He completed passes to 11 different receivers.”

MVP on defense: “Wyatt Jones. He delivered some big hits that set the tone of the game for our defense,’’ Steele said. “He also had a big interception. Multiple tackles. He is a player.”

Thoughts on Week 7 vs. Columbia River: “Just another big game,’’ Steele said. “River is tough and will give us a good game. We have to be ready. Their defense is really good and will test us.”

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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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