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Friday, February 23, 2024
Feb. 23, 2024

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After slow start, Hockinson turns on jets in 42-6 win over Columbia River

Chieftains’ defensive strategy threw off Hawks, until their patented offense took off

By , Columbian Staff Writer
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The rain began to fall onto the turf as each team circled up in their respective end zones. In Hockinson’s, Rick Steele’s message was clear.

“We are not a good enough football team,” the Hawks head coach proclaimed. “And we have a lot to work on.”

No. 1 ranked Hockinson routed 2A Greater St. Helens League opponent Columbia River 42-6 to gain a 2-0 league start and inch one step closer to the postseason, where the Hawks believe they can be crowned repeat state champs.

But not before River’s bag of tricks, disguised packages and blitzes frustrated the Hawks into a 14-6 halftime lead, their narrowest score margin of the season at the midway point.

Jarrett Seelbinder broke a pair of tackles en route to a 37-yard touchdown in the first quarter, taking advantage of a pair of Hockinson penalties leading up to the play, and following a string of blocks before hitting the gap on the score. It was the Chieftains largest offensive play of the night by a big margin — and their lone scoring play.

But at that juncture of the game, going down a touchdown put the Hawks on their heels.

Two plays into Hockinson’s next drive, Levi Crum found Peyton Brammer 41 yards down field — the rare deep ball that perfectly spliced through the Chieftains’ blanket coverage.

“That always gets us going,” Crum said. “Whole team gets excited, kind of gets our momentum rolling, it was a great play.”

The Hawks would be held to a fourth and goal from the eight yard line, but they went for it, and Crum found Sawyer Racanelli for a touchdown in the end zone that the 6-foot-3 receiver pulled down through a pass interference.

Tied at 6-6, Hockinson compounded the lead going into halftime by piecing together an 11 play, 71-yard drive that ended in a seven-yard strike to Peyton Brammer.

“My side was wide open and we took care of business,” Brammer said. “Levi made good throws and the linemen blocked good.”

Brammer finished with three touchdowns on the night, and 145 yards on 10 catches, as he operated on an island the Hockinson coordinators created by sending two receivers to the same side as Racanelli.

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At halftime, the Hawks regrouped. That’s when Steele told his players to calm down. He pointed out the necessary adjustments, and the team listened.

“I’ve been waiting for this game all year, when we come out, don’t think we have to play hard and the better team comes out and punches us in the mouth,” Steele said. “River had a great game plan defensively, our kids just got a little rattled, and we brought them into halftime and said, hey we’ve got to calm down and do what we do.”

Hockinson scored 21 points in the third quarter as its offense, which has been a leading contributor to its top state ranking, became too much for the River defense to handle. Left out on the field for several long Hockinson drives, the Chieftains wore down.

Crum finished with 333 yards in the air. He completed 31 of 48 heaves for six touchdowns and added 58 yards on the ground.

River coach Christian Swain was pleased with the opportunities the Chieftains created, but acknowledged they were sunk by a lack of execution. A post route here, a pump-fake-and-go there — both potential scoring plays — were drops.

“We ran out of bullets to shoot ourselves with,” Swain said. “We were just sloppy in the second half and they’re too good to do that with.”

The Chieftains drop to 1-1 in leaugue, but are now past its toughest 2A GSHL matchup. Hockinson knows the statewide spotlight is on them. But it also recognizes that it can’t rest easy any week in league play.

“We know we have back-to-back games that are going to be tough — this one and Woodland next week at our house,” Brammer said. “It’s good to come out, get this w and get momentum going for next week.”

HOCKINSON 42, COLUMBIA RIVER 6
Hockinson 6 8 21 7 — 42
Columbia River 6 0 0 0 — 6

SCORING SUMMARY
First quarter
CR — Jarrett Seelbinder 37 run (kick blocked)
H — Sawyer Racanelli 8 pass from Levi Crum (conversion failed)
Second quarter
H — Peyton Brammer 7 pass from Crum (conversion good)
Third quarter
H — Brammer 7 pass from Crum (Nick Charles kick)
H — Garrett Gundy 7 pass from Cum (Charles kick)
H — Brammer 12 pass from Crum (Charles kick)
Fourth quarter
H — Aidan Mallory 17 pass from Crum (Charles kick)

INDIVIDUAL STATISTICS
RUSHING – Hockinson: Levi Crum 12-58, Jon Domingos1-(-3), Juice Jones 6-22, Joseph Brennan 1-5, Liam Mallory 1-0. Columbia River: Jarrett Seelbinder 7-47, Jackson Fobbs 6-10, Isaac Bibb-O’Neill 7-21, Dawson Lieurance 2-6.
PASSING – Hockinson: Levi Crum 31-48-0-333, Liam Mallory1-3-0-3. Columbia River: Matt Asplund 3-9-0-10, Dawson Lieurance 3-15-0-11.
RECEIVING – Hockinson: Aidan Mallory 6-69, Peyton Brammer 10-145, Sawyer Racanelli 13-109, Nick Frichtl 1-9, Jeremiah Faulstick 1-3, Garrett Gundy 1-7, Wyatt Jones 1-5, Makaio Juarez 1-3. Columbia River: Kanen Eaton 4-21, Tristan Hoyer 1-0, Colby Rabitoy 1-0.

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Columbian Staff Writer