The Hockinson Hawks practice this play all the time. They are confident.
Still, with a muddy field Friday night, and with the game on the line, trailing by seven points, they had to be a little concerned, right?
“I was just thinking, ‘This is going to work. This is the play right here,’” wide receiver Bailey Jones said.
“I knew it was going to work. I just didn’t know how far he was going to go,” quarterback Canon Racanelli said.
Matt Henry just kept going and going, all the way to the end zone for a touchdown with 20 seconds left in the game, using the old hook-and-ladder play: Racanelli pass to Jones, lateral to Henry, run for a TD.
Oh, and that just brought the Hawks to within one point of the Columbia River Chieftains.
After doing all that, though, of course they were going to go for two, for the win.
Racanelli scrambled and found Henry in the end zone for the two-point conversion and a 14-13 victory in a Class 2A Greater St. Helens League game.
Hockinson went 62 yards in 43 seconds after Columbia River extended a one-point lead to seven with a touchdown to make it 13-6.
From the 32-yard line, Henry heard the call.
“It works in practice,” he said. “We were hoping it would work here.”
He even did a little acting, looking disinterested as the play started. Once Racanelli threw to Jones, Henry took off and caught the lateral on the fly.
“Right when I pitched it to him, I knew we were good,” Jones said.
“I saw I had the corner,” Henry said. “I just had to turn on the jets. I just ran as fast as I’ve ever run in my life.”
The Hawks did not have too much time to catch their breath, though.
“I saw Canon scrambling around and I took a break to the corner,” Henry said of the two-point conversion. “Canon bought some time, then he threw it perfectly.
“I can’t even explain it. It’s too amazing.”
The muddy conditions kept scoring to a premium. Columbia River took the lead in the second quarter on a 75-yard touchdown pass from Jack Armstrong to Nathan Kunz.
Henry scored on a 7-yard run midway through the third quarter to make it a one-point game at 7-6.
Defenses ruled until the end of the fourth quarter.
Armstrong scored on a naked bootleg, a 15-yard run to make it 13-6 with 1:08 to play.
“We knew we had enough time to score,” Racanelli said.
“We’re mudders,” Jones said. “We never quit. We knew we were still in this game. We do this a lot.”
The victory put Hockinson (6-1, 4-1) atop the 2A GSHL standings in the win column with Columbia River (4-3, 3-1).
The Chieftains were so close to improving to 4-0 in league play.
“I told them I was proud of them for fighting,” Columbia River coach Christian Swain said of the Chieftains. “Sometimes life’s not fair. We expected that play. We knew it was coming. They just executed. We didn’t. We need to execute better.
“That was a good game, though.”
Hunter Pearson was a beast in the ground game for the Chieftains. He rushed for 135 yards on 20 carries.
Gannon Kytolo led the Hawks with 59 yards on 13 carries.
Racanelli would end up with 120 yards through the air — the final 32 being the ones that really counted.
He also threw three interceptions, but that is what makes him special, Henry said.
“Canon didn’t put his head down. He kept cheering us on,” Henry said. “He bounced back and led us to victory.”
The Hawks expect to keep winning, as well.
“Our football team is really coming together,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said.
HOCKINSON 14 COLUMBIA RIVER 13
Col. River 0 7 0 6—13
Hockinson 0 0 6 8—14
CR — Nathan Kunz 75 pass from Jack Armstrong (Kent Stricker kick)
H — Matt Henry 7 run (kick failed)
CR — Armstrong 15 run (kick failed)
H — Matt Henry 24 pass — play covered 32 yards — from Canon Racanelli (Henry pass from Racenelli) :20
RUSHING — Columbia River: Hunter Pearson 20-135, Koben Jamison 1-3, Armstrong 6-27, Nathaniel Trevino 12-(minus 8). Hockinson: Gannon Kytolo 13-59, Devan Riggs 1-(minus 4), Canon Racanelli 8-24, Colton Wheeler 7-32, Henry 2-8, Sawyer Racanelli 1-11.
PASSING — Columbia River: Armstrong 5-7-0-125. Hockinson: C. Racanelli 12-26-3-120
RECEIVING — Columbia River: Jamison 1-3, Kunz 2-95, Dakota Mason 2-27. Hockinson: Nicholas Frichtl 1-4, Riggs 1-24, Kytolo 3-19, Matt Henry 1-30, Sawyer Racanelli 2-20, Aidan Mallory 1-(minus 2), Bailey Jones 3-25.