Prep football playoff preview: Liberty vs. Hockinson

LibHockLIBERTY (5-5) vs. HOCKINSON (10-0)

2A state first-round game

When, where: 7 p.m. Saturday; District Stadium, Battle Ground HS, Battle Ground

Last week: Liberty beat Renton 35-20; Hockinson beat Centralia 54-14.

Last meeting: First meeting.

Players to watch: Liberty RB Joseph Cunningham has rushed for 478 yards and 9 TDs; Hockinson LB Cameron Loos was selected the 2A Greater St. Helens League defensive player of the year.

Game notes: The winner will host the winner of Sedro-Woolley and Olympic. This is Liberty’s first state tournament appearance since 2010. The Patriots don’t really have a go-to player. They like to mix it up. The Patriots have six players who have rushed for 172 yards or more this season. QB Nate Solly has passed for 478 yards and 3 TDs with 5 INTs. Before last week’s playoff win, Liberty dropped three in a row, but all three are state playoff teams, two in 3A (Bellevue and Juanita) and one in 4A (Mount Si). Liberty is a 2A team playing in the very tough 3A/2A KingCo League. Hockinson completed its second consecutive 9-0 regular season. Last year, the Hawks made their first state tournament appearance. WR Kedrick Johnson causes a match-up problem for any team. He has 45 catches for 908 yards and 14 TDs. QB Canon Racanelli is coming off a big game. He has passed for 2,162 yards and 28 TDs. If the weather makes passing tough, Hockinson can turn to its ground game led by Steven Carlisle, who has rushed for 686 yards and 8 TDs. But the Hawks win with defense, not allowing a foe to score more than 14 points in any game this season.

The Prep Proletariat says: Looking at those records, this game looks like a no-brainer. But don’t let Liberty’s 5-5 mark fool you. The Patriots play in a very tough league for 3A teams, and Liberty is a 2A school. Liberty is better than a 5-5 team, but are the Patriots good enough to run through a tough Hawks defense? We’re saying not quite. HOCKINSON 27, LIBERTY 14

Score Czar says: Hockinson 32, Liberty 0

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