Hockinson High School, using a big dose of Sawyer Racanelli, completed its run to back-to-back Class 2A state championships Saturday afternoon in the Tacoma Dome.
Racanelli rushed for five touchdowns of 4, 3, 7, 1 and 12 yards — all in the second half — to break a 2A Gridiron Classic record for rushing touchdowns in a game, and rallied the top-seeded Hawks (13-0) from a deficit that reached as many as three possessions early in the third quarter.
Hockinson prevailed, 42-37, over third-seeded Lynden and extended their state-best active winning streak to 27 games.
“For a long time, people didn’t think that any football could come out of southwest Washington,” Hawks coach Rick Steele said. “Well, guess what. We’re here. And, I think we’re going to stay here for awhile.
“I’m excited for our area. Now I think the state is looking at us. And I think that’s fantastic.”
Racanelli finished with six total touchdowns, and a game-high 200 all-purpose yards, including 85 yards rushing on 15 carries, 55 receiving yards on five catches, and another 60 yards on three punt returns.
He also tossed Hockinson’s first touchdown, taking a reverse on fourth-and-8 and finding quarterback Levi Crum for an 11-yard score. Racanelli, at 6-foot-3, 200 pounds, proved simply too much for Lynden (12-1) to handle.
Each of Racanelli’s rushing TDs came in the Wildcat formation. And, that was an idea that started during preseason practices.
“I told my dad and coach Steele that I figured we could put me in Wildcat, and (it would) just be a good short-yardage distance, in case we needed it,” Racanelli said.
“I played a little bit of running back when I was in middle school. It kind of just happened on the fly this year. We didn’t do any of it last year. But, it’s pretty cool playing running back.”
Just a junior, Racanelli has an offer from Oregon State. He led the state in receptions for a second straight year, finishing with 101 catches for 1,626 yards and 20 receiving TDs. That places him ninth on the all-time list for receiving yards in a season, right behind his eighth-place finish a year ago.
His 101 catches are the fifth-most in a single season. He joins a fraternity of five other who have also passed that mark — Prosser’s Kirby Moore (131), Lake Washington’s Jeff Fritschman (126), Prosser’s Cody Bruns (109) and Ellensburg’s Kramer Ferrell (102).
“I think he’s the best football player in the state of Washington,” Steele said about his junior star. “I do. When you’re a good player like that, you take over games. And that’s what he did tonight. He took over that game.
“It’s funny. He’s known as one of the best receivers in the state of Washington. We got that heavy formation, and he turns into a pretty good running back, too. He’s just a guy that can do everything.”
But for awhile, it looked like the Lions might play spoiler to another perfect season for Hockinson. Lynden was well in control during the first half.
With eight minutes, 38 seconds left in the third quarter, the Lions held a 24-7 lead after quarterback James Marsh punched in a 2-yard touchdown run.
Before that, Lynden scored on a 12-yard pass from Marsh to Kobe Elsner, a 27-yard pass from Brock Heppner to Marsh, and a 21-yard Mark Samoukovic field goal.
That’s when Racanelli made a run toward history. During the next 15:32, he scored all five of his rushing touchdowns. His final touchdown, with 5:06 remaining, gave the Hawks a 42-31 lead.
Lynden answered with 2:42 remaining, on a 23-yard pass from Marsh to Heppner, but Hockinson recovered the onside kick attempt and ran out the clock.
Marsh led Lynden with a game-high 120 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries, added 27 receiving yards and a score on one catch, and had 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns through the air on 7 of 16 passing.
Heppner finished 3 of 5 passing for 109 yards and a touchdown, and added a game-high 95 receiving yards and a score on six catches.
NO. 3 LYNDEN
NO. 1 HOCKINSON
L – Kobe Elsner 12 pass from James Marsh (Marko Samoukovic kick)
L – James Marsh 27 pass from Brock Heppner (Samoukovic kick)
H – Levi Crum 11 pass from Sawyer Racanelli (Nick Charles kick)
L – Samoukovic 21 field goal
L – Marsh 2 run (Samoukovic kick)
H – Racanelli 4 run (Charles kick)
H – Racanelli 3 run (Charles kick)
H – Racanelli 7 run (Charles kick)
L – Marsh 13 run (Samoukovic kick)
H – Racanelli 1 run (Charles kick)
H – Racanelli 12 run (Charles kick)
L – Heppner 23 pass from Marsh (pass failed)
Passing: L – Marsh 7-16-1-107; Heppner 3-5-0-109. H – Crum 12-23-1-160; Racanelli 2-2-0-27.
Rushing: L – Marsh 19-120; Trevin Melendez 8-30; Heppner 5-6. H – Racanelli 15-85; Crum 19-70; Cody Wheeler 7-22; Makaio Juarez 1-12.
Receiving: L – Heppner 6-95; Grant Vanderyacht 2-82; Marsh 1-27; Elsner 1-12. H – Jeremy Faulstick 3-60; Racanelli 5-55; Liam Mallory 2-31; Wyatt Jones 1-16.