Curt Warner surprises Hockinson for title-game send-off

3-time Pro Bowl running back, Ex-Seattle Seahawk addresses team Friday morning

By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer

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Curt Warner still talks a good game as well as he once played.

The 3-time NFL Pro Bowler and ex-Seattle Seahawks running back surprised Hockinson’s football team Friday morning with a motivational speech before Hawks’ school-wide send-off to Tacoma in preparation for Saturday’s Class 2A football state championship game. Kickoff against Tumwater (11-2) is 10 a.m. at the Tacoma Dome.

“It’s really phenomenal to have someone come in and have respect for us to come out of his day to talk to us,” senior defensive end Kyle Brabec said. “One of the coolest things is the big plays he’s made and the big games he’s been in.”

One of those big games was helping Penn State win the national title in 1982. Now a local businessman who resides in Camas, Warner played eight NFL seasons, including his first seven with the Seahawks before retiring in 1990 with the Los Angeles Rams.

Brabec took away a lot of wisdom that he and the rest of the Hawks hope it translates in Saturday’s title game against a Tumwater (11-2) program experienced in past title games. This is the Thunderbirds’ fifth title game appearance since 2010, but the 13-0 Hawks, Warner stressed, shouldn’t feel like the underdog as a first-timer.

Remember what got you here, Warner said, and save your best for last. And that happens to be Saturday.

“We know we deserve to be here, and he’s telling us we deserve to be here,” Brabec said. “That meant a lot to know we should be the ones to win this game.”