Friday’s 2A Football: Hawks Take to the Air to Best Bearcats
End of the Line: W.F. West Falls to Hockinson 62-28 in Playoff Crossover
By The Chronicle
BATTLE GROUND — W.F. West was suffering no delusions about the monumental task that lay before them here Friday night. As the number three seed out of the 2A Evergreen Conference the Bearcats were matched up against the undefeated and defending state champion Hawks of Hockinson.
The Bearcats, though, did not allow doubt to creep into their mind as they worked all week on a gameplan to slow the formidable air attack of the Hawks.
That confidence paid immediate dividends for W.F. West as they posted a 14-0 lead early in the first quarter. However, the size and athleticism of Hockinson eventually won out as they toppled the Bearcats by a score of 62-28 to end the Bearcats season.
Josiah Johnson opened up the scoring with a 61-yard run in the opening minutes. Then Leandre Gaines capped off a Bearcat drive with a 1-yard rushing touchdown out of the imposing Elephant formation to give the Bearcats a two score lead with 5:16 left in the first quarter.
Johnson finished the game with a team-high 62 yards rushing to go with with 203 passing yards on 10 of 20 throws. Max Taylor led the Bearcats receiver corps with 86 yards on three catches while Gaines added 76 yards on three receptions and Troy Yarter caught one pass for 21 yards.
“We started the game off and everything we’d been working on all week went off like clockwork and our guys executed very well,” said W.F. West coach Dan Hill. “We got some big plays on our first two possessions and had some sacks on their first two possessions and made them punt.”
After that hot start the Bearcats mojo quickly evaporated as the Hawks scored eight straight touchdowns to put the game well out of reach. The Hawks offense was powered by the arm of quarterback Levi Crum who connected on 19 of 32 passes for 392 yards and six passing touchdowns. Crum also ran in a touchdown from one yard out to knot the game up at 14-all in the first quarter. Sawyer Racanelli once again proved to be Crum’s favorite target as he hauled in six passes for 150 yards and four receiving touchdowns. Racanelli also ran back a kickoff 90-yards for a score that put the Hawks first points of the game on the board.
Hill said that the Hawks changed up their approach after the first few minutes and forced the Bearcats out of their comfort zone in order to shift the momentum.
“They started bringing a little bit more pressure and loading the box up. They made it hard for us to throw the ball consistently,” said Hill, whose team finished with just eight first downs and 289 total offensive yards. “They are a really good football team and when you put the ball back in their hands they’ve got some real dangerous athletes.”
Despite the daunting 48-14 deficit at halftime the Bearcats continued to claw and scratch for points as time grew short on their season. In the third quarter Josiah Johnson connected with Max Taylor on a 33-yard touchdown pass and then in the fourth quarter Johnson hit Carver Brennan for a 12-yard touchdown.
“They are by far the best team we’ve played this year. They’ve got so many weapons on the edge. It’s not just Racanelli out there. The’ve got 4 or 5 guys they can throw the ball to and their quarterback is a very good quarterback. He puts the ball where he needs to and lets them go make plays,” said Hill.
The Bearcats coach said he would not be surprised to see the Hawks come away with another state championship this season.
At the conclusion of his first season at the helm of Bearcats football Hill made sure to express his gratitude for the leadership of his inaugural senior class.
“I’m extremely proud of our seniors and the effort that they have given throughout the course of the year,” said Hill. “I’m very happy that I got to coach them.”