State semifinal football preview: Hockinson vs. West Valley-Spokane


Hockinson (12-0) vs. West Valley-Spokane (12-0)


WHEN: Noon Saturday

WHERE: Gonzaga Prep HS, 1224 E. Euclid Ave., Spokane

BROADCAST: Internet video, nfhs network (fee)

LAST WEEK: Hockinson beat Pullman Liberty 34-21; West Valley-Spokane beat Selah 28-15

NEXT UP FOR WINNER: Will play in the state championship game against Archbishop Murphy or Tumwater.

GAME NOTES: Hockinson was the 2A Greater St. Helens League champion. The Hawks’ non-league wins were over 3A Prairie and 1A La Center and Hoquiam. La Center is a 1A state semifinalist. This is Hockinson’s first trip to the state semifinals. Hockinson has been a pass-heavy offense, throwing for 3,250 of its 4,609 yards (71 percent) of offense. Senior QB Canon Racanelli has passed for 3,505 yards and 50 touchdowns this season. Racanelli is also the Hawks’ leading rusher with 509 yards and15 TDs. RBs Colton Wheeler (371 yards, 4 TDs) and Bailey Jones (335 yards, 3 TDs) are the other leading rushers. Sophomore Sawyer Racanelli has 73 receptions for 1,465 yards and 24 TDs. Other top receivers are Peyton Brammer (44-650-8), Matt Henry (38-540-6) and Jake Beslanowitch (24-313-6). The 21 points allowed last week were the most the Hawks’ have allowed since a 49-27 win over Woodland in Week 3. The 34 points Hockinson scored last week were its fewest of the season. The Hawks average more than 49 points a game. West Valley was the 2A Great Northern League champion. Hockinson has already played a GNL team this postseason, beating Pullman 53-18 in the first round. West Valley beat Pullman 35-14 on Oct. 6. West Valley has won with its defense. Since a 31-20 win over Class 3A Shadle Park in Week 1, the Eagles have not allowed an opponent to score more than 15 points. The Eagles also have no shutouts this season. Last week, West Valley was up 28-0 on Selah before giving up two fourth-quarter touchdowns. The Eagles’ defense set up the offense. The Eagles’ four TD drives were 44, 54, 61 and 16 yards. Tanner Jones rushed for two touchdowns, and Matt Allen had a 56-yard TD run. Jones (119), Allen (105) and Marshall Meleney (100) combined for 324 rushing yards last week. West Valley rushed for 328 yards and passed for 74 last week, and 37 of those passing yards came on a fake punt. QB Blake Transue (6-foot-4) passes for 1,110 yards and 14 TDs and rushed for 8 TDs this season. He did not play QB last week. In the Eagles’ first-round win over Franklin Pierce, Transue and Allen split time at quarterback. The Eagles have not depended upon one player, with several making big contributions on offense. West Valley brought back most of its team that reached the state quarterfinals in 2016. Last year was West Valley’s first trip to the state playoffs since 2011 and its first win since 2009 when it fell in the 2Atitle game. The Eagles’ front line has been their strength, and they are big. Joshua Quirk (6-1, 310 pounds), Joshua Moss (6-3, 318) and Robby Arver (6-3, 280)  will be a formidable front to block Racanelli’s passing lanes. Chase Howat had kicked six field goals, including a 53-yarder. He could be a key factor in a tight game.

FANS’ PICK: Hockinson (91 percent)

SCORE CZAR: Hockinson 29-18


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