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No. 1 Hockinson rolls past ‘chippy’ Washington, 47-14, into quarterfinals

With target on their backs, Hawks started strong and didn't look back

By Andy Buhler, Columbian Staff Writer
Published: November 9, 2018, 11:39pm
5 Photos
Hockinson's Peyton Brammer (9) catches a pass for a touchdown during the first round of the 2A state football playoffs against Washington in Battle Ground on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Hockinson defeated Washington 47-14.
Hockinson's Peyton Brammer (9) catches a pass for a touchdown during the first round of the 2A state football playoffs against Washington in Battle Ground on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Hockinson defeated Washington 47-14. (Alisha Jucevic/The Columbian) Photo Gallery

BATTLE GROUND — At this time last season, Hockinson was amid a state title run that, to many, came as a surprise. This year, the defending champs and No. 1 overall seed in the 2A state playoffs know nobody is overlooking them.

“Feels like we have a target on our back,” lineman Nathan Balderas said.

Their solution? Start strong and don’t look back.

That was the approach on Friday night as Hockinson beat a chippy 16-seeded Washington (Tacoma) — who looked determined to go down fighting, literally — 47-14 at District Stadium in Battle Ground to book a return trip to the quarterfinals.

After a week 10 district playoff game where the Hawks went down two touchdowns in the first quarter, coach Rick Steele made clear to his team they needed to start strong.

And the Hawks answered the call.

The Hawks took to its patented passing game, where quarterback Levi Crum connected seven of his first nine throws — including three to Racanelli for 50 yards — and capped the opening drive with a six-yard heave to Peyton Brammer in a whopping 1:41, a byproduct of the team’s no-huddle work in practice this past week.

18 Photos
Hockinson's fans surround Nick Charles (7) and his teammates as they run onto the field after halftime during the first round of the 2A state football playoffs against Washington in Battle Ground on Friday, Nov. 9, 2018. Hockinson defeated Washington 47-14.
2A State Playoffs – Hockinson vs. Washington Photo Gallery

Brammer caught all three of Crum’s touchdown passes in the first half. Racanelli, 6-foot-4, who often lines up opposite the 6-foot-5 Brammer, wreaked havoc on the Washington secondary. So much so that on one play, a 36-yard catch in tight one-on-one coverage, the opposing defensive back spiked his helmet and heaved his mouth guard into the stands out of frustration.

“(Washington) wasn’t blitzing much, so offensive line dominated, got time, and when you’ve got time like that with receivers we have, good plays happen,” Crum said.

Racanelli finished the first half with 135 yards receiving. Crum completed 17 of his 26 passes for 209 yards and three touchdowns and Hockinson lead 26-0 at the midway mark, allowing just 12 yards of offense from Washington.

Washington tried to confuse Hockinson’s dynamic wideouts with disguised coverage and, for a moment, it worked.

Brammer saw the outside linebacker over the top of him and the cornerback 10 yards off of him, something he had not seen all season. It confused him at first, but they stopped sending the linebacker, he found himself in single coverage.

“I had to make them pay for that,” Brammer said.

And he did. The junior receiver caught four touchdown passes and finished with 72 yards on six catches.

Crum had no issue finding Brammer in the red zone, and on short gains. He went to Racanelli (his first cousin) for the long balls.

“Every game we get better with that timing,” Crum said of Racanelli. “He made a bunch of great plays, especially downfield. Great player, one of the best in the state.”

On the first drive of the second half, Washington advanced to the Hawks’ 42 thanks to a horse collar. On the next play, they took advantage. Kobe Andrews hit Braxton Seaich for a 42-yard touchdown over the middle to put the Patriots on the board.

But Hockinson did not relent.

Four plays later, Crum hit Racanelli for a 14-yard touchdown pass in the middle of the end zone.

The Hawks held onto its lead throughout a third quarter mired by unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and personal fouls, and put the Patriots’ season to rest with a 19-yard touchdown from Crum to Brammer on the first play of the fourth quarter.

That put Hockinson up 40-7 and soon after, it reached a running clock.

Crum tallied 304 yards passing on 24 completions from 37 attempts, five touchdowns and no turnovers. 189 of those passing yards were to Racanelli, who got there with 11 catches.

The win pits Hockinson in a quarterfinal matchup with No. 9 Steilacoom, who trounced Sehome Friday night. And at this point, the Hawks are ready to take on any challenge — no matter the expectation.

“We’re out here to let people know we can repeat, we’re going to try again,” Balderas said. “All those teams be warned, Hockinson’s coming.”

Washington 0 0 7 7 — 14
Hockinson 14 12 7 14 — 47

First quarter
H — Peyton Brammer 6 pass from Levi Crum (Nick Charles kick)
H — Brammer 8 pass from Crum (Charles kick)
Second quarter
H — Brammer 1 pass from Crum (kick failed)
H — Sawyer Racanelli 2 run (conversion failed)
Third quarter
W — Braxton Seaich 42 pass from Kobe Andrews (Joel Viesca kick)
H — Racanelli 14 pass from Crum (Charles kick)
Fourth quarter
H — Brammer 19 pass from Crum (Charles kick)
H — Racanelli 5 pass from Crum (Charles kick)
W — Joshua Camacho 27 run (Viesca kick)

RUSHING — Washington: Joshua Camacho 24-99, Kobe Andrews 6-2, Braxton Seaich 1-14. Hockinson: Levi Crum 4-7, Jeremiah Faulstick 1-(-5), Joseph Brennan 6-61, Sawyer Racanelli 3-11, Aidan Mallory 1-2, Garrett Gundy 1-5, Juice Jones 1-9, Cody Wheeler 1-0.

PASSING — Washington: Kobe Andrews 2-9-1-37. Hockinson: Levi Crum 24-37-0-304, Aidan Mallory 1-1-0-18, Sawyer Racanelli 0-1-0-0.

RECEIVING — Washington: Braxton Seaich 2-37. Hockinson: Sawyer Racanelli 11-189, Peyton Brammer 7-62, Joseph Brennan 1-11, Aidan Mallory 1-7, Nick Frichtl 2-(-2), Garrett Gundy 2-23, Wyatt Jones 1-3, Jeremiah Faulstick 2-41.

Columbian Staff Writer