BATTLE GROUND — All the signs were pointing to a Hockinson comeback.
In just seven seconds during the fourth quarter of their first-round Class 2A state football playoff game against Enumclaw, the Hawks wiped away most of a 17-point deficit, scoring two touchdowns to get within three points.
In the end, Hockinson’s momentum was short-lived.
Enumclaw, the No. 9 seed, regained its composure and turned to its effective ground game. The Hornets scored on a 4-yard Emmit Otero touchdown on fourth and goal with less than two minutes left, effectively clinching a 38-28 win over No. 8 Hockinson.
The Hawks’ surge started with an 11-yard touchdown catch by Kenyon Johnson from quarterback Jarod Oldham, then reached another level when Enumclaw muffed the ensuing kickoff, which Hockinson recovered.
As Oldham dropped back to pass on the Hawks’ first play of the drive, Andre Northrup beat his man and streaked toward the end zone, where Oldham hit the senior in stride for a 24-yard score sending the home crowd at District Stadium into a frenzy.
“We knew we had a shot,” Hockinson head coach Clint LeCount said. “Even though it didn’t start well in the third quarter, they had just had a never die attitude. They will never give up. They will not. It’s not a part of who they are. … You could feel the excitement, you could feel the momentum coming.
“Unfortunately, we just had a couple plays (we gave up). I should have made adjustments earlier to the way their offensive run game was. I waited too long to make an adjustment, and I think that was the downfall of us this week.”
Hockinson faced its largest deficit midway through the third quarter when Karson Holt hauled in an 18-yard touchdown from quarterback Malcolm Harper. On the ground, the Hornets found big holes in the Hockinson defense, while Harper completed 12 of 16 passes for 155 yards.
“I feel like I let them down, that’s what it comes down to,” said LeCount, a first-year head coach. “I feel like I should’ve done more and I wish it didn’t have to end this way.”
Enumclaw will face No. 1 seed Tumwater next week in the quarterfinals.
Quick-strike offense — The Hawks marched down the field on their opening drive, as Oldham completed nine passes, six of which went to Johnson, including a 14-yard touchdown. Hockinson’s 7-0 lead did not last long, however.
Winning the turnover battle — Enumclaw grabbed three interceptions, starting with a Mason Taylor-Wells pick on Hockinson’s second drive, leading to a Clive Pond 13-yard touchdown from Harper. The Hornets had 14 points off the turnovers, while Hockinson’s lone turnover came on the muffed punt.
Emmit Otero — The junior running back led the Hornets’ multi-faceted rushing attack with 19 carries for 156 yards and a pair of touchdowns. With Hockinson attempting to put together a final drive, Otero picked off Hockinson to clinch the win.
Kenyon Johnson — The opening drive set the tone for the Hawks’ senior receiver, who finished with a team-high 10 catches for 125 yards and two touchdowns.
Andre Northrup — In addition to his role on defense, Northrup’s 37-yard touchdown catch sent a jolt into the Hawks’ sideline and crowd. Northrup finished with four catches for 69 yards.
“I couldn’t have been blessed with a better first senior class. These guys were amazing, hard-working. They don’t complain, they don’t whine, they just put their nose down and work hard. They’re all just great human beings, they’re better people than they even are football players, that’s how good of a group this is.” — Hockinson head coach Clint LeCount.
ENUMCLAW 38, HOCKINSON 28
Enumclaw 14 10 7 7—38
Hockinson 7 7 0 14—28
H — Kenyon Johnson 14 pass from Jarod Oldham (John Charles kick)
E — Emmit Otero 11 run (Noah Seabrands kick)
E — Clive Pond 13 pass from Malcolm Harper (Seabrands kick)
E — Seabrands 24 field goal
H — Andre Northrup 37 pass from Oldham (Charles kick)
E — Dylan Watterson 20 pass from Harper (Seabrands kick)
E — Karson Holt 18 pass from Harper (Seabrands kick)
H — Johnson 11 pass from Oldham (Charles kick)
H — Northrup 24 pass from Oldham (Charles kick)
E — Otero 4 run (Seabrands kick)
RUSHING — Enumclaw: Emmit Otero 19-156, Dawson Harding 10-52, 7-19, Malcolm Harper 4-11, Mason Taylor-Wells 7-20, Dylan Watterson 2-9, Seamus Twohey 1-(minus 3); Hockinson: Jared Oldham 4-11, Cody Wheeler 4-8, John Charles 5-22.
PASSING — Enumclaw: Malcolm Harper 12-16-0-155; Hockinson: Jared Oldham 20-37-3-282.
RECEIVING — Enumclaw: Scott Walgamot 1-7, Clive Pond 5-55, Karson Holt 1-18, Dylan Watterson 3-64, Dawson Harding 1-8, Austin Paulson 1-13; Hockinson: Kenyon Johnson 10-125, Hale Prior 1-12, Tyler Litle 4-35, Enzo Oliverio 1-8, Andre Northrup 4-69, Noah Prior 1-13.