Hockinson football: Hawks feel they have right stuff to be among state’s elite

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Bailey Jones doesn’t boast much about himself on social media.

In fact on Twitter, all the Hockinson High School senior writes in his Twitter profile is one thing: #ouryear.

Ask him what that entails, and he’ll gladly shed light on how it came together through a group text message among his teammates that led to an unofficial team motto. The Hawks, after all, feel this is their year for a breakthrough.

“We all go together as a team,” Jones said.

Hockinson is on a streak of three straight 2A Greater St. Helens League titles and three straight 2A state playoff berths, including back-to-back state quarterfinal appearances in 2014 and ’15.

What’s in store this year? That’s yet to be determined, of course.

“This is the year,” Jones said.

Or, in their terms, #ouryear.

Jones is one of the few changes to the Hawks’ offense. Last season, the team was limited in the run game, so head coach Rick Steele approached Jones, a receiver, about sticking him in the backfield.

Jones happily accepted. He’d played receiver his entire career up until now.

“That’s my thing now,” Jones said about his transition to running back. “Maybe I’ve always been a running back and just didn’t know it.”

With depth at receiver and lack thereof in the run game, Steele said Jones is a perfect solution because of his size (6-foot-2, 215 pounds) and speed.

But what isn’t changing is the passing game. Reigning league offensive MVP Canon Racanelli has thrown 70 touchdowns the past two seasons, as well as an area-high 3,148 passing yards in 2016. His leading receiver, brother Sawyer Racanelli (1,027 yards, 12 TDs) returns for his sophomore season.

This group could possibly be Hockinson’s best team because it has the right mixture, Steele said. The offensive line averages 250 pounds, athletes are all over the field, and the defense returns all five linebackers in a 3-5 defense.

And that mix is ready for that next step.

“When they come out ready to go and right mentally,” Steele said, “we can beat anybody.”

2016: 7-3, 5-1. First in 2A GSHL

Best State Finish: Quarterfinals in 2014, 2015

Projected Starters

Returning All-League selections in bold

QB Canon Racanelli 5-11 180 Sr.
RB Bailey Jones 6-2 215 Sr.
WR Peyton Brammer 6-4 190 Soph.
WR Sawyer Racanelli 6-3 200 Soph.
WR Matt Henry 5-10 170 Sr.
TE Jake Beslanowitch 6-4 210 Sr.
OL Ryan Sleasman 6-1 250 Sr.
OL Nathan Balderas 6-4 285 Soph.
OL Zach Ristau 5-11 180 Sr.
OL Kordell Johnson 6-3 255 Sr.
OL Garrett Kondel 6-3 255 Jr.
* * *
DL Nathan Balderas 6-4 285 Soph.
DL Kordell Johnson 6-3 255 Jr.
DL Ryan Sleasman 6-1 250 Sr.
LB Sawyer Racanelli 6-3 200 Soph.
LB Colton Wheeler 5-10 185 Sr.
LB Jake Beslanowitch 6-4 210 Sr.
LB Joe Brennan 5-10 190 Jr.
LB Jonathon Domingos 5-11 170 Jr.
DB Matt Henry 5-10 170 Sr.
DB Aidan Mallory 5-11 170 Jr.
DB Wyatt Jones 6-0 180 Jr.
Coach: Rick Steele (13th year)

 

Schedule

Home games at Hockinson High School
League games in bold
Sept. 1 at La Center 7 p.m.
Sept. 8 Prairie 7 p.m.
Sept. 15 at Woodland 7 p.m.
Sept. 22 Ridgefield 7 p.m.
Sept. 29 Mark Morris 7 p.m.
Oct. 6 at Washougal 7 p.m.
Oct. 13 at Columbia River 7 p.m.
Oct. 20 Hoquiam 7 p.m.
Oct. 27 R.A. Long 7 p.m.