2A state championship preview: Hockinson vs. Tumwater


Hockinson (13-0) vs. Tumwater (11-2)






WHEN: 10 a.m. Saturday

WHERE: Tacoma Dome, Tacoma

TICKETS: $17 adults, $13 seniors/students

BROADCAST: Internet video, nfhs network (fee); Internet radio, elisportsnetwork

LAST WEEK: Hockinson beat West Valley-Spokane 53-30; Tumwater beat Archbishop Murphy 10-6.

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 was a 1A state semifinalist. This is Hockinson’s first trip to the state championship game. Hockinson has been a pass-heavy offense, throwing for 3,857 of its 5,489 yards (70 percent) of offense. Senior QB Canon Racanelli has passed for 3,812 yards and 54 touchdowns this season. Racanelli is also the Hawks’ leading rusher with 588 yards and 17 TDs. RBs Colton Wheeler (389 yards, 4 TDs) and Bailey Jones (347 yards, 3 TDs) are the other leading rushers. Sophomore Sawyer Racanelli has 79 receptions for 1,666 yards and 26 TDs. He had his second 200-yard receiving game of the season last week. Other top receivers are Peyton Brammer (49-737-9), Matt Henry (41-552-7) and Jake Beslanowitch (26-317-6). The 30 points the Hawks allowed last week were the most they have allowed all season. Hockinson has not scored fewer than 34 points a game this season. The Hawks average 46 points a game. Tumwater was the 2A Evergreen Conference champion. The Thunderbirds’ two losses came in Week 3 and 4 to Bellevue (30-13), a 3A state semifinalist, and Union (33-29), a 4A state playoff team. Tumwater has won nine straight since then. In eight of those wins, Tumwater did not allow its opponent to score more than 13 points. That was in a 23-21 win over Lynden in the state first round. Tumwater runs a deceptive Wing-T offense, which spreads rushing attempts among several different running backs. The Thunderbirds have averaged 341 rushing yards and 40 points a game. But in the state playoffs, the Thunderbirds have averaged 19 points a game. The defense has allowed an average of 13 points in the state playoffs. They beat Lynden 23-21, Steilacoom 23-13 before holding an Archbishop Murphy team that averaged 43 points a game to six points. Sophomore Dylan Paine has rushed for 1,700 yards. He rushed for 176 yards vs. Lynden, 188 vs. Steilacoom and 118 last week. Tumwater’s strength resides up front. The Thunderbirds are big and strong. Cy Hicks, a 6-foot-3, 265-pound offensive guard and nose guard, was the 2A Evergreen Conference Most Valuable Player. Aiden Slater, a 6-3, 235-pound defensive end, was the league’s defensive MVP. The Thunderbirds held Archbishop Murphy, which was led by a 2,000-yard rusher Ray Pimentel, to -9 rushing yards. Wildcats sophomore QB Victor Gabalis passed for 80 yards and was sacked seven times. Tumwater has given up some long passing plays in the postseason. Lynden had TD pass plays of 60 and 46 yards. Steilacoom had a 78-yard TD pass play. All-confernce kick Nathan Seaman had three field goals vs. Lynden, three more vs. Steilacoom and one against Archbishop Murphy. He could prove vital in a close game. Connor Clark had a 90-yard kickoff return vs. Lynden and sealed the win against Steilacoom with a late interception. This is Tumwater’s fourth trip to the state title game in the past six seasons. Tumwater won the 2010 state title. The Hawks and Thunderbirds have three common opponents – Columbia River, Washougal, Aberdeen. Hockinson beat River 42-14, Tumwater won 55-6. Hockinson beat Washougal 41-7, Tumwater won 55-0. Hockinson beat Aberdeen 49-8, Tumwater won 60-0.

FANS’ PICK: Hockinson (79 percent)

SCORE CZAR: Hockinson 27-26


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