Hockinson opens playoff run with a rout

Canon Racanelli shines for the Hawks, posting six touchdowns and 307 yards passing

BATTLE GROUND — The Hockinson Hawks are 10-0 this season, but coach Rick Steele told his players Friday night that doesn’t mean a thing.

“My message to the boys after the game was we’re 10-0 but we’re not even thinking about that,’’ said Steele after his Hawks defeated Aberdeen 49-8 in a Class 2A state qualifier game at District Stadium in Battle Ground. “We’re going into each week 0-0 with the goal of getting to 1-0 and then we will start over again.’’

Steele’s message is well received by his players, many of whom were members of two previous Hockinson teams that advanced to the Class 2A state quarterfinals. The Hawks, currently ranked No. 3 in the state 2A poll, have set a goal of advancing even further into the postseason than ever before.

Hockinson running back Bailey Jones (26) had 88 yards on just 10 carries in the Hawks’ Friday win over Aberdeen. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson running back Bailey Jones (26) had 88 yards on just 10 carries in the Hawks’ Friday win over Aberdeen. Photo by Mike Schultz

“We’re going into a whole different level of football, a state level of competition,’’ Steele said. “We’re way beyond the (2A) Greater St. Helens League level at this point.

“That’s the nice thing about those two quarterfinal runs that we made, all of our starters were there for that,’’ Steele said. “Our kids know this is a whole different level of football.’’

Hockinson will enter the first round of the 2A state playoffs next week with a home game against Pullman, 31-30 winners over Prosser in overtime Friday. The game will again be played at District Stadium in Battle Ground, either Friday or Saturday of next week.

As much as Steele knows stiffer challenges await his team on their path to a state championship, Friday was clearly not that type of challenge. The Hawks dominated from beginning to end, leading 20-0 at halftime and 39-0 at the end of the third quarter.

“Offensively, we could pretty much do anything we wanted to do,’’ Steele said. “We worked on our run game this week. We just want to get that going. We want people to play us straight up.’’

With starting running back Colton Wheeler not in uniform due to discipline resulting from a skirmish in last week’s game against R.A. Long, Hockinson turned to Bailey Jones to carry the football. Jones responded with 88 yards on 10 carries, seven of which came in the first half.

After displaying the ability to run the football, the Hawks unleashed their prolific passing attack on the Bobcats. Senior Canon Racanelli completed his first 14 passes and finished the game 18-20 for 307 yards and six touchdowns.

Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli (12) threw six touchdown passes to lead the Hawks to a 49-8 victory over Aberdeen Friday in a state qualifier playoff game at District Stadium in Battle Ground. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson quarterback Canon Racanelli (12) threw six touchdown passes to lead the Hawks to a 49-8 victory over Aberdeen Friday in a state qualifier playoff game at District Stadium in Battle Ground. Photo by Mike Schultz

“We just had better athletes than they did,’’ Steele said of his skill position players. “Offensively, I was pretty happy. I think we were pretty balanced.’’

Racanelli amassed all of his stats by the end of the fourth quarter before he and his fellow starters gave way to their backups for the final period of play. Racanelli found tight end Jake Beslanowitch for three touchdowns and he added a pair of scoring strikes to brother Sawyer Racanelli, who finished with nine catches for 182 yards. Levi Crum, the Hawks’ backup quarterback, caught Racanelli’s other touchdown pass.

On defense, Hockinson lost the shutout when Aberdeen’s Kylan Touch scampered 71 yards for a score in the fourth quarter. The run came against the Hawks’ second unit.

Hockinson tight end Jake Beslanovich (2) had three touchdown receptions in the Hawks’ state qualifier playoff victory over Aberdeen Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson tight end Jake Beslanowitch (2) had three touchdown receptions in the Hawks’ state qualifier playoff victory over Aberdeen Friday. Photo by Mike Schultz

“Defensively, I thought we played well at times but we still have a lot of work to do,’’ Steele said.

Not only was Hockinson missing Wheeler, who is the team’s starting middle linebacker, the Hawks were also without starting cornerback Matt Henry, who was also serving a one-game suspension for actions in last week’s game with R.A. Long. Both Wheeler and Henry will be eligible to play in Hockinson’s game against Pullman.

Wyatt Jones and Aiden Mallory each had interceptions for Hockinson.

Thanks in part to his 71 yard run in the fourth quarter, Touch finished with 229 yards rushing on 26 carries.

“He’s a real good football player,’’ Steele said of Touch.

Hockinson receiver Sawyer Racanelli (11) had nine catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns to help the Hawks defeat Aberdeen 49-8 Friday at District Stadium in Battle Ground. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson receiver Sawyer Racanelli (11) had nine catches for 182 yards and two touchdowns to help the Hawks defeat Aberdeen 49-8 Friday at District Stadium in Battle Ground. Photo by Mike Schultz

HOCKINSON 49, ABERDEEN 8

Aberdeen 0  0  0  8 — 8

Hockinson 14  6  19  10 — 49

First quarter

Hockinson — Jake Beslanowitch, 25-yard pass from Canon Racanelli. (Nick Charles kick)

Hockinson — Beslanowitch, 25-yard pass from Racanelli. (Charles kick)

Second quarter

Hockinson — Levi Crum, 22-yard pass from Racanelli. (Kick failed)

Third quarter

Hockinson — Sawyer Racanelli, 11-yard pass from Canon Racanelli. (Pass failed)

Hockinson — Beslanowitch, 12-yard pass from Canon Racanelli. (Pass failed)

Hockinson — Sawyer Racanelli, 47-yard pass from Canon Racanelli. (Charles kick)

Fourth quarter

Hockinson — Charles, 31-yard field goal.

Aberdeen — Kylan Touch, 71-yard run. (Dillen Espana, pass from Touch)

Hockinson — Crum, 5-yard run. (Charles kick)

Individual statistics

RUSHING: Aberdeen: Touch 26-229; Zeiah Embry 1-7; Ben Dublanko 4-6, Aiden Neely 3-(-1), Player No. 9, 1-(-2). Hockinson: Bailey Jones 10-88, Canon Racanelli, 2-9, Tony Richardson 5-40, Levi Crum 2-0, Kyle Nute 2-11.

PASSING: Aberdeen: Dublanko 4-5-0-29, Touch 3-7-1-54, Unidentified No. 9 3-6-1-25. Hockinson: Canon Racanelli 18-20-0-307, Crum 3-4-0-43.

RECEIVING: Aberdeen: Embry 1-9, Espana 3-25, Touch 1-13, Neely 1-2, Bailey Delahanty 2-41, Cameron Hochstetler 1-12, Ethan Morrill 1-11. Hockinson: Sawyer Racanelli 9-182, Wyatt Jones 1-5, Jake Beslanowitch 4-66, Crum 2-22, Bailey Jones 1-16, Peyton Brammer 1-19, Wesley Kainu 1-37, Kyle Brabec 1-8, Mason Bonile 1-9, Jeremiah Faulstick 1-26.

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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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