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Jan. 31, 2023

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‘I’ll play anywhere’ — Andre Northrup leads Hockinson with his versatile play

Hawks’ multipurpose player set for playoffs vs. Enumclaw

By , Columbian staff writer
2 Photos
Hockinson Hawks Andre Northrup (1) gains against Ridgefield Spudders Connor Delamarter (45) in the 2A Greater St. Helens League season opener for both teams at Hockinson High School on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Randy L.
Hockinson Hawks Andre Northrup (1) gains against Ridgefield Spudders Connor Delamarter (45) in the 2A Greater St. Helens League season opener for both teams at Hockinson High School on Friday, Sept. 17, 2021. (Randy L. Rasmussen / for The Columbian Photo Gallery

Andre Northrup is a coach’s solution to a high school football want-ad.

Got a spot to fill? The Hockinson High School senior has the perfect résumé.

“I’ll play anywhere,” said Northrup, 18. “Anywhere a coach needs me to play, I’ll play. … I’ll go prove myself.”

For the record, Northrup is now a two-time all-2A Greater St. Helens League receiver, and also starts at safety and is the Hawks’ return specialist. He’s also taken snaps at quarterback and received handoffs at tailback, and coaches say if he’s needed at left guard, Northrup would jump in and immediately ask who to block.

There’s several players head coach Clint LeCount can count on, and Northrup tops the list.

But Hockinson is at its best with the senior playing receiver and safety, and that’s a winning formula because here the Hawks are: winners of seven straight entering the Class 2A state playoffs.

On Friday, Hockinson (7-2 overall) hosts Enumclaw at 7 p.m. at Battle Ground’s District Stadium in a first-round game with the winner likely getting top-seed Tumwater in the state quarterfinals.

Since starting the season with losses to Lynden and Ridgefield — also state playoff teams — Hockinson has allowed 8.5 points per contest.

But more importantly, it found its offensive identity Northrup said was missing early on. It began by fine-tuning what’s been the program’s bread-and-butter in recent years that’s led to state championships in 2017 and 2018 and a state semifinal appearance in 2019 — the passing game — but also establishing the run. Since then, the Hawks have scored better than 46 points in seven outings beginning with a 65-13 victory over R.A. Long.

“And then every week, we’ve kept that momentum,” Northrup said. “It was definitely the key aspect — finding our identity, which got us rolling.”

That momentum is at a season-high, and Northrup is a big reason for it. He’s a three-sport athlete at Hockinson, but each week during football season, his to-do list reads more like a music playlist set to repeat beginning with film work.

Northrup is a self-described film-room junkie. It’s more than just team film-study sessions Saturdays after a game or Mondays breaking down opponents’ tendencies and schemes; every free moment Northrup tends to be tied up on a screen.

Even at lunch.

“I have my desk set up with my school Chromebook and a notepad next to me,” Northrup said.

Northrup says film study is more than the ability to predict what happens on the field, but also impacting the game with more instinctive action because of self-evaluation.

Those film-time rituals have paved the way to on-field results. He’s the Hawks’ second-leading receiver behind Kenyon Johnson with 434 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He’s also their third-leading rusher; he had two rushing touchdowns in last week’s 50-7 district playoff victory over Rochester.

LeCount, in his first year as the Hawks’ head coach and with the program for 12 years said the Hawks are better defensively with Northrup roaming the secondary at safety and a more dynamic offense with him at wide receiver. In fact, film also is where Northrup can sneak up on opponents.

“You watch him on film and he doesn’t look fast,” LeCount said. “But he’s quick and elusive. He covers ground and eats up cushions on (defensive backs) in a hurry.”

Northrup craves the challenge — no matter where he’s lined up. That sits fine with him, and it sits just fine with Hockinson back in familiar territory: the state playoffs.

“That confidence feeling — all of us have that feeling,” Northrup said. “The sky’s the limit for this team.”