Year in Review: Union, Hockinson combine for historic day

Titans and Hawks win football titles just hours apart

Note: Last week, we took note of the other eight high school sports teams from Clark County that won state championships in the calendar year of 2018. Today, we salute the final two state champions: The Union Titans and Hockinson Hawks rule the football landscape.

It was Dec. 1, the best day of the year for Clark County sports, when the Union Titans and Hockinson Hawks both claimed state championships, when both teams capped undefeated seasons.

Union and Hockinson players celebrate with the trophies on Dec. 1 in the Tacoma Dome. The Titans and Hawks won state titles that day, the first time Clark County teams won state classification titles on the same day. Photos by Mike Schultz
Union and Hockinson players celebrate with the trophies on Dec. 1 in the Tacoma Dome. The Titans and Hawks won state titles that day, the first time Clark County teams won state classification titles on the same day. Photos by Mike Schultz

That double had never before been accomplished in football for Clark County. In fact, it was the first time in history two teams from Clark County made it to the final weekend of the high school football season.

Hockinson played the 1 p.m. game at the Tacoma Dome for the Class 2A title. The Hawks fell behind early, much like they did in the semifinals, then changed tactics in the second half, and ran past Lynden for a 42-37 victory.

Union played the 7:30 p.m. game for the 4A title, in front of a television audience throughout the state, and endured five lead changes in an exciting first quarter. The rest of the game was only exciting for the Titans and their fans as they cruised to a 52-20 victory over Lake Stevens.

Nearly a month later, the two starting quarterbacks took a few minutes to discuss Dec. 1, 2018.

“You finally get a chance to relax and let it soak in,” Hockinson quarterback Levi Crum said. “You start to see what kind of a big deal it is.”

The championship game was played on Saturday. They won. They celebrated. But they were so used to focusing on the next game, Crum said, that it took some time to really feel like champions.

Hockinson’s Levi Crum is 13-0 as a starting quarterback. On Dec. 1, he helped Hockinson to its second consecutive state championship. Photo by Mike Schultz
Hockinson’s Levi Crum is 13-0 as a starting quarterback. On Dec. 1, he helped Hockinson to its second consecutive state championship. Photo by Mike Schultz

“We were caught up in the season, what we could do better and better,” Crum said, adding that he was in such a zone that even after the title game, he was thinking about practice, trying to improve.

The Hawks did not believe they played their best football in the final weeks of the season.

“Then the season’s over, and we won a state championship,” Crum said. “Now we get to sit back, relax, and let it really soak in.”

For the Hawks, it was their second consecutive title. But it was the first for Crum as the starting quarterback.

For the Titans, everything was new. This was the first state championship for the Union program.

“It’s definitely been pretty crazy,” Union quarterback Lincoln Victor said. “Feels like it was just yesterday we hoisted the trophy up after the game. … We’re going to remember these days, the grinding for seven hours a day in the summer, and then playing a 14-game schedule. A lot of people don’t get that opportunity. We did it in a tremendous way.”

Union quarterback Lincoln Victor and receiver Alex Vallejo celebrate a score in the championship game on Dec. 1. On that day, Union and Hockinson won state football titles. Photo by Mike Schultz
Union quarterback Lincoln Victor and receiver Alex Vallejo celebrate a score in the championship game on Dec. 1. On that day, Union and Hockinson won state football titles. Photo by Mike Schultz

The two QBs are also proud of being part of something so special, with two schools 10 miles apart winning football championships.

“It’s pretty cool to have another team (in the area) winning it, too,” Crum said. “It really shows the talent we have down here in Clark County.”

Victor noted that his teammates had played against many of the Hawks back in their youth football days. He also predicted this success before the season started.

“It’s good to see the people you grew up with have the same accomplishment,” Victor said. “We definitely made history this year. It’s a testament to everyone’s hard work. We’ve got ballers down here, and we can play football.

“It’s pretty special to be part of something new that’s never happened before,” he added. “I’m glad to be part of it. I know everyone else is, too.”

The two teams rooted for each other, as well.

“They have a lot of energy around their football program,” Crum said of the Titans. “Lincoln, Darien (Chase), and Jojo (Siofele) are great competitors. They really led them to a state championship. It was really cool to see a team, right down the road, with the same goal as we had. Union had a great year.”

Victor called Hockinson a well-rounded team. Part of the Hawks’ success, he added, is so many think they are a one-dimensional team, with all the passing, with junior Sawyer Racanelli getting a lot of the attention.

“You look at their offensive line, their defensive line. They are just really sound,” Victor said.

The coaches are special at Hockinson, too, Victor said. He has known them for years.

“Pretty sure they’re going to be seeking a third one,” Victor said of state titles, adding he would not be surprised if the Hawks are celebrating in 2019, as well. “If you’re playing Hockinson, it’s going to be a long night.”

Together in 2018, the Hawks and Titans combined to go 27-0.

And on Dec. 1, they combined to go 2-0, with wins in the Tacoma Dome.

For state championships.

For history.

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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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