Hockinson wide receiver Sawyer Racanelli ran a route he’s run many times before. He caught the ball without being hit, ran out of bounds, but as he was jogging back toward the huddle during a June 15 three-team contact scrimmage in Vancouver, he was limping.
“He was pretty sore the next few days, but the swelling went away,” Hockinson coach Rick Steele said. “Seemed like he was doing fine.”
Exactly a month later, a precautionary MRI revealed devastating news for Racanelli and the two-time defending 2A state champions: a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament that will keep the three-star University of Washington commit and one of the best returning players in the state on the sideline for his senior season.
The news, which was first reported by The Columbian Thursday morning, doesn’t completely doom the Hawks’ three-peat bid before the season starts, but it is sure to make the title chase that much more competitive.
“Thank you to everyone for all of the thoughts and prayers,” Racanelli said in a Twitter post. “… I can assure you that I will be back and better than before. I’m looking forward to supporting my brothers this season.”
As a junior, Racanelli accounted for 35 total touchdowns. The Associated Press 2A state player of the year logged 101 catches for more than 1,700 yards, and scored five rushing touchdowns in the 2A state championship, a 42-37 win over Lynden.
247 Sports ranks Racanelli as the eighth-best player in the state of Washington.
Racanelli’s July 15 MRI was precautionary, as he had felt fine in the weeks after the non-contact injury. He even played basketball during that stretch. It’s what made the extent of his injury, Steele said, that much more of a shock to the program.
Support and well-wishes poured in for the 6-foot-3, 220-pound wide receiver on social media after the news was made public.
“Hate to see this … get better bro!!” wrote the nation’s top recruit, Kennedy Catholic outside linebacker Sav’ell Smalls.
Though Racanelli won’t be playing this season, the injury won’t stop him from being on the sidelines, perhaps a part of the coaching staff.
“We lost a player but we just picked up a coach,” Steele said.
Hockinson loses its top offensive weapon, but still returns 6-foot-5 wideout Peyton Brammer, among others. Steele said sophomore Liam Mallory will replace Racanelli and junior Makaio Juarez will replace Mallory in the slot.