Fall Sports Preview: Injury to Racanelli adds wrinkle to Hockinson’s three-peat goals

first_imgFall Sports Preview: Injury to Racanelli adds wrinkle to Hockinson’s three-peat goals [email protected] Long before Crum’s breakout junior season, when he threw for 3,836 yards and 56 total touchdowns, he grew up in small-town Kalama surrounded by the best fishing holes on the banks of the Kalama River. His family uprooted to Clark County before Crum’s freshman year.Two future teammates who helped move boxes and furniture? Sawyer Racanelli and Peyton Brammer.Josh Racanelli, the Hawks’ offensive coordinator and Sawyer’s father, never coached his nephew before Crum entered high school.A gangly runner whose feet were too big for his body is now a strength in an offense that’s churned out two all-state quarterbacks.As a sophomore understudy, Crum sat behind eventual 2A state player of the year Canon Racanelli. But Crum didn’t just fill the shoes left behind; he did so in his own style and flare. Brammer and Racanelli were each 1,000-yard receivers in 2018. Brammer admits he’s still learning the game — “I feel I haven’t gotten to be the best I can be,” the senior said — but the pure athleticism from basketball is what head coach Rick Steele sees most.Steele has coached at Hockinson in all but one season since the school opened in 2004. He said he can’t recall when, if at all, a dropped pass came from Brammer. What he does best, the coach said, has to do with his hands first, then legs: catching the ball at the high point and deceptive speed running after the catch.“I haven’t seen many kids like him,” Steele said.Crum the leader, playmakerHockinson is 56-5 the past five seasons. One of those losses came against Woodland in 2016. No 2A Greater St. Helens League team the past two years has kept the margin of Hockinson’s victories as close as the Beavers both years.Glen Flanagan spent the past 23 years as defensive coordinator for Woodland under four head coaches. He’s now coaching defensive backs for first-year coach Garrett Lutgen. Receive latest stories and local news in your email: When Sawyer Racanelli tore the ACL in his right knee at a June scrimmage, it prematurely ended a memorable high school career with 72 total touchdowns, a Class 2A state player of the year honor, and on the cusp of becoming the state’s all-time leader in receiving yards.But well before the season-ending injury to the future Washington Husky, his influence and impact was established program-wide, including his best friends, quarterback Levi Crum and receiver Peyton Brammer.That same duo flanked Racanelli when he announced his verbal commitment to Washington in May.The best friends say they often have no plans yet, somehow, always end up together. But they are making plans for another big football season — the sport that best brought them together. Share: Friendship formed“We literally know everything about each other,” Crum said. “How we act under pressure, how we deal with stuff on and off the field. We got closer in every way seeing each other and being around each other that much.“It’s as good as it gets playing with your best friend and cousin. It doesn’t get much better than that.”On the morning of May 17 inside Hockinson High School is where Sawyer Racanelli announced his verbal commitment to Washington. The program has shown full support through his knee injury and plans to honor his full scholarship. In the meantime, Racanelli plans to be a de facto coach this season during his rehabilitation.When Racanelli signs his National Letter of Intent during December’s early-signing period, he’ll become the second Hockinson football player to sign with a Pac-12 school (Nick Cody, Oregon in 2008). Last season’s 42-13 win over Archbishop Murphy — a team Hockinson plays again Sept. 13 — is the game Josh Racanelli watched his nephew come into his own as a playmaker and leader.“Watching Levi walk up and down the sidelines blew me away,” Josh Racanelli said. “He was there as far as willing his teammates into successful spots.”Sawyer Racanelli has watched Crum blossom, and points to his scrambling abilities and keeping plays alive as a notable strength.What has Crum learned most playing alongside his cousin?On-field poise.“Nothing is too big,” Crum said.Through football, Crum and Racanelli’s relationship has evolved to more than cousins. They’re best friends. Crum traveled to Seattle when Racanelli had reconstructive knee surgery at the University of Washington Medical Center. He was the first to learn of Racanelli’s injury when the two were at an Oregon church camp in July. Hockinson Hawks This article is part of The Columbian’s High School Fall Sports 2019 special section, published in print on Sept. 1. View it online. Hockinson players Sawyer Racanelli and Peyton Brammer show off their state-championship rings. Nathan Howard/The Columbian Photo Gallery Tags Flanagan said Hockinson is unique when it comes to game-planning. And opponents like that make for a great game of chess.“Those are the best games,” he said, “because you’re challenging yourself. They have more talent, and you have to find their strengths, their best players and try to eliminate them and make them beat you with the other ones.“At the 2A level,” Flanagan continued, “they’re a hard matchup … Those special kids make the difference.”One of those special kids who has blossomed into a playmaker and leader is Levi Crum, a quarterback unproven to most before his first varsity start last September who is also Racanelli’s cousin. “What kind of third grader can make 10 free throws in a row?” Racanelli said.How Brammer got hooked on football is the same reason Ranacelli plays basketball: for each other.But it didn’t start that way.Football for Brammer became an afterthought until eighth grade. He gave it a try in sixth grade, but quit. Four years later, the breakout game at Woodland during his sophomore year put others on notice: 10 catches, 123 yards, two touchdowns.In two varsity seasons, Brammer has grown to 6 feet, 5 inches, become a go-to option at wide receiver and developed into a lock-down cornerback. Before breaking his foot against Steilacoom in last November’s state quarterfinals, Brammer held Steilacoom’s Emeka Egbuka, considered the state’s top recruit for 2022 and ranked by 247Sports as the nation’s top athlete, in check for three quarters.Football, Brammer said, is now fun.“I never knew I had the sport in me as much as it is right now,” Brammer said.center_img Two consecutive football state titles. A state-best 27-game active winning streak. The team oppositions aim to beat.That’s the current resume? of the Hockinson Hawks. Over the past five seasons, the program is in the midst of its best run in program history, forming into a small-school power.Is state history next?Only six schools have won three or more consecutive football state championships. Lynden, another Class 2A team like Hockinson, was the last to do it from 2011-13, as part of winning six titles in eight years.On the biggest stage the past two seasons, Hockinson shines brightest. And if there’s pressure to three-peat, the Hawks don’t show it. Past success and key pieces have them set up for another championship run — albeit without its best player in full uniform for 2019. Meg Wochnick Columbian staff writer By signing up you are agreeing to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. The Columbian is becoming a rare example of a news organization with local, family ownership. Subscribe today to support local journalism and help us to build a stronger community. Share: Subscribe Today By Meg Wochnick, Columbian staff writer Published: September 3, 2019, 4:06pm GO 2 Photos (360) 735-4521 @MegWochnick Football now fun for BrammerAsk any coach of a successful program what the key to sustainability is, and answers may range from hard work to tradition. Maybe some luck is included, too.The Hawks feel lucky Brammer stuck with football.When Brammer scored 50 points in a basketball game on Feb. 6, he set the school’s single-game record. It came during a stretch run when the Hawks won two of their final three games to reach districts.A broken foot suffered in last season’s state quarterfinal prematurely ended Brammer’s junior year in football, but not before he rose to help form one of the state’s elite receiving duos.It’s the same kid who, eight years ago, hit countless free throws inside a Battle Ground gymnasium that grabbed Sawyer Racanelli’s attention when they were 9 year olds. Few people in Racanelli’s inner-circle knew he’d pick UW’s hat over UCLA at his commitment ceremony, but he wanted to be flanked by his two best friends — Brammer on his left, Crum on his right — as the trio revealed in unison Racanelli’s college choice.“Peyton and Levi have been through everything with me,” said Racanelli.That includes consecutive state titles and a state-best 27-game winning streak.And a three-peat — a three-time state champion — has a nice ring to it.“It’s not about how good we are,” Crum said, “it’s about how much fun we have. When you win with our brothers, it makes it that much better.”Said Brammer: “It’s a small group of guys doing such big things.”last_img

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