Introducing the current and next wave of Hockinson Hawks

A bunch of new players have had to step into big-time roles in order for Hockinson to make it to the state semifinals

BATTLE GROUND — The Hockinson Hawks finished the 2018 season with a second consecutive Class 2A state title and a 27-game win streak.

They immediately started to prepare for 2019.

They would have their quarterback back, Levi Crum.

Hockinson quarterback Levi Crum, already a big name, has helped others get some recognition, too, just by spreading the ball around to different Hawks. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson quarterback Levi Crum, already a big name, has helped others get some recognition, too, just by spreading the ball around to different Hawks. Photo by Mike Schultz

They would have their top receiver and top defensive player and one of the best players in the state back, Sawyer Racanelli

And they would have another Division-I receiving recruit and shutdown cornerback back, Peyton Brammer.

Only, they wouldn’t have everybody. Only one is still playing. 

“It’s Levi and a bunch of no-name kids now,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said.

No names not for long, though.

Racanelli never played a down this season after a summer knee injury. Brammer went down with a season-ending knee injury in Week 8. 

Yet, here are the Hawks. 

As they like to say, they are still here, still in the playoffs, still in the hunt for another state championship.

Hockinson will take on undefeated Tumwater at 4 p.m. Saturday at Tumwater High School in a Class 2A semifinal.

“For the last four years, we’ve been known as the Racanelli team (including older brother Canon) or the Brammer team,” Steele said. “I don’t mean it in a derogatory way. When we say it’s a team of no-name kids, it’s because they are kids you have not heard of before.”

Well, Levi Crum has to be throwing the ball to somebody. The guy has passed for 2,500 yards and 34 touchdowns. 

The Hockinson running game is coming alive, too. And the Hockinson defense is still slowing down enough opponents to keep winning. 

Interestingly, a lot of the guys doing the heavy lifting are juniors and sophomores. So the Hawks, in the final four again and hoping for more this year, are already feeling good about the future, too.

“This is going to be our team going forward,” Steele said. “No Division-I football players but some darn good high school football players.”

Liam Mallory had big moments as a freshman last year. This year, he has turned into a turnover machine on defense. He also has seven touchdown receptions on offense. 

“It’s just the standards we have as a football program,” he said.

Sophomore Liam Mallory has turned into a dual threat, able to score on offense and dominate on defense for the Hockinson Hawks. Photo by Mike Schultz
Sophomore Liam Mallory has turned into a dual threat, able to score on offense and dominate on defense for the Hockinson Hawks. Photo by Mike Schultz

At the start of the offseason, he never figured he would be needed as much on offense, not playing behind Racanelli and Brammer. But, he said, he continued to work as if he were No. 1 on the depth chart. 

That is part of being on a championship team.

When the injuries piled up, the Hawks were ready.

“We already knew we had the dudes,” Mallory said.

But it does not matter to Mallory if those dudes become stars.

“Everybody wants to make a name for themselves. In this program, that’s not how we do things,” he said.

Still, just by producing, by winning, names will begin to get recognition.

Makaio Juarez has eight touchdown catches. He is a junior.

Makaio Jaurez stepped into a shining role for the Hockinson Hawks this season and has eight touchdown receptions. Photo by Mike Schultz
Makaio Jaurez stepped into a shining role for the Hockinson Hawks this season and has eight touchdown receptions. Photo by Mike Schultz

Andre Northrup, a sophomore, sealed the state quarterfinal win with an interception.

Daniel Thompson (junior) and Cody Wheeler (sophomore) are doing wonders with the rushing attack. In the state quarterfinals, Thompson rushed for more than 120 yards and Wheeler rushed for three touchdowns.

Daniel Thompson, a junior, shown here earlier this season, led Hockinson in rushing in the state quarterfinal game last week. Photo by Mike Schultz
Daniel Thompson, a junior, shown here earlier this season, led Hockinson in rushing in the state quarterfinal game last week. Photo by Mike Schultz
Sophomore Cody Wheeler is one of several emerging players for the Hockinson Hawks this season. Photo by Mike Schultz
Sophomore Cody Wheeler is one of several emerging players for the Hockinson Hawks this season. Photo by Mike Schultz

Steele noted the play of Zackary Brandt, a lineman who missed the first eight weeks of the season due to a broken hand.

“He’s just been a gangbuster for us ever since,” Steele said. 

And there is right guard Jake Rogers.

“He finally got his chance,” Steele said.

Yes, the Hawks lost two Pac-12 recruits in Racanelli and Brammer, plus they lost a Division-I talent on the offensive line.

Their philosophy?

Next.

Another “no-name” Steele admires is Adam Nute. Listed at 5-7, 161 pounds on the roster, Nute said he is actually 150 pounds. He plays outside linebacker. Not a starter earlier in the season, he got an opportunity due to another injury, and he has shined.

“The kids is 5-foot-nothing, 140 pounds, and the kid led our team in tackles in a game,” Steele said. “His mouthpiece is a binky. You can’t take that kid seriously.”

Yes, Nute wears a mouthpiece that looks like a pacifier — think D.J. Metcalf of the Seahawks — and yes, teams do have to take him seriously. 

“I just put it on the line for my teammates,” Nute said. “We know we have to play as a team, play for the person next to you. We put it all out there and never quit.”

And they never worry about who gets the credit.

Sure, Levi Crum is a big name in this state. A championship quarterback who has won 24 of his 25 starts with off-the-chart passing and rushing numbers.

The rest of this players, though? The football community is just getting to know them. 

Interestingly, they do not seem to care about the credit as long as the Hockinson Hawks get the recognition.

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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