KELSO — Hockinson was overjoyed to finally see a road trip to Schroeder Field on the schedule. Despite both having Week 7 bye weeks — after each having opponents cancel that week’s game before the season began — Kelso and Hockinson couldn’t agree to terms on filling the vacancy. But after Kelso’s opponent in Week 4, Aberdeen, forfeited, the Hilanders were eager to get a game on the slate in Week 7. Hockinson couldn’t be happier with the outcome.
Not only did the Hawks get a win — 21-14 in the nonleague battle Friday — they got valuable experience in playing a talented 3A Kelso (5-2) squad as Hockinson (6-1) gears up for a run at a third straight 2A championship.
“We were ecstatic to get this football game,” coach Rick Steele said. “We knew this was going to be exactly what it was here: a good hard-fought football game. That’s we got tonight. That’s what we need.”
It showed Steele everything he needed to know about the character of this year’s team. He had an inkling this team was as tough and driven as years’ past. Friday proved it.
“When we lost Sawyer (Racanelli) to that knee injury, we were hoping this team would still keep going and have that same fight and determination,” Steele said. “You saw tonight, these kids were going to win this football game and not quit.”
After taking a 14-0 halftime lead — courtesy of a pair of Levi Crum touchdown throws — the Hawks had to turn away a motivated Kelso squad in the final 24 minutes. The Hilanders scored on consecutive 99- and 69-yard drives to tie the game at 14-14 early in the fourth quarter.
The Hawks responded immediately. They returned to the up-tempo offense that led to both first-half scores and in just four plays, which included a defensive pass interference, the Hawks struck with a 20-yard Makaio Juarez touchdown pass from Crum to take the 21-14 lead with 9:21 left.
“I think we were better in shape. They don’t run like us,” Crum said of the up-tempo offense. “Other teams don’t condition like us. Props to our conditioning coach.”
Crum intercepted a pass at the goal-line with 3:47 left and then had a 50-yard run to seal the victory.
“Right when we heard we could come up here and play Kelso, we were ready to go,” Crum said.
— Kelso punted on its first drive of the game, but immediately got the ball back when Conner Noah ripped the ball out of the returner’s hands. The Hilanders then drove to the Hawks’ 1-yard line before a personal foul and two false starts took Kelso out of range. Kelso eventually took a turnover on downs and didn’t score the rest of the first half.
— With Kelso searching for points to end the first half, Hockinson sophomore defensive back Liam Mallory reversed the field by intercepting a Marshall Coleman pass with 34 seconds left in the half and returning it 63 yards to set the Hawks up to score on the other end. One play later, Levi Crum found Jeremiah Faulstick for a 24-yard score and a 14-0 halftime lead.
— Josh Webb’s 3-yard touchdown run with 2:33 remaining in the third quarter capped a nine-play, 99-yard Kelso drive to give the Hilanders their first points.
Levi Crum — The senior quarterback did it all for the Hawks. He was 9 of 20 for 244 yards and three touchdowns as the quarterback; he hit a pair of punts to within the Kelso 20-yard line, including one that rolled to the Hilander 1; and he made the game-sealing interception on defense.
Josh Webb — The senior Hilander running back ran for 144 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries. He had a sack that forced a fumble and was a force as the Kelso safety.
Peyton Brammer — The 6-foot-5 receiver caught the game’s opening touchdown — a 49-yarder from Crum — and finished with three catches for 100 yards.
“We had that Archbishop (Murphy) game that we lost, and all of a sudden they wanted to play us. It was a big opportunity for us to get better and a big opportunity to show we could play at all classifications of football.” — Hockinson sophomore Liam Mallory
HOCKINSON 21, KELSO 14
H — Peyton Brammer 49 pass from Levi Crum (pass fail)
H — Jeremiah Faulstick 24 pass from Crum (Brammer pass from Crum)
K — Josh Webb 3 run (Kevin Aguilar kick)
K — Nick Miller 46 pass from Marshall Coleman (Aguilar kick)
H — Makaio Juarez 20 pass from Crum (Troy Visnius kick)
Rushing —H: Liam Mallory 1-6, Levi Crum 12-87, Daniel Thompson 7-45, Makaio Juarez 2-(-4), Cody Wheeler 2-20; K: Conner NOah 4-9, Marshall Coleman 19-116, Josh Webb 21-144, Dakota Hall 1-5, Nate Lonner 1-1.
Passing — H: Levi Crum 9-20-0-244; K: Marshall Coleman 9-15-2-150.
Receiving — H: Jeremiah Faulstick 3-60, Peyton Brammer 3-100, Makaio Juarez 3-84; K: Dillon Davis 1-6, Conner Noah 2-18, Nick Miller 2-51, Josh Webb 2-30, Jaden Kay 1-45.