The 2021 Hockinson Hawks cemented a perfect season after a 2-0 win over Tumwater High School in the District Championship at Battle Ground District Stadium on Saturday, March 20.
Despite a complete change in coaching staff and over 365 days since the last season, nothing could stop the Hockinson Hawks as they went undefeated over the shortened five-week season and allowed zero goals to hit the back of the net.
“(The feeling) is indescribable,” junior goalkeeper Amanda Jeschke said. “The fact that I got to play with all of my friends and get this really big almost impossible accomplishment, it's just amazing. Just pure joy.”
Saturday’s game started off strong, with Hockinson controlling the ball for a large portion of the first half and junior center Payton Lawson scoring a goal in the 34th minute. Going into halftime, the Hawks were up 1-0 and had about 40 minutes of play left in the season.
“I just remember constantly checking back looking at the time and telling myself, ‘OK, only blank many more minutes, like, just hold off hold off, do what you need to do we got this,’” Jeschke said.
With Lawson scoring a second goal 7:45 into the second half, the district championship trophy inched closer into grasp for the Hawks. Once the final whistle blew at the end of the game, Jeschke and her teammates knew they had done the almost impossible.
“There has been so much tension on me and pressure on me and stress on me, and even the backline because they know I have a lot of faith in them,” Jeschke said. “But that feeling once I heard that whistle blow … like I couldn't even cry.”
Two years ago, the Hawks won the GSHL 2A title and took second in the state tournament after a 1-0 loss to Columbia River in the championship match. The team was ready to come back swinging in 2020; however, the pandemic put that on hold. Along with missing practices and not knowing when the season would begin, Hockinson head coach Joe Chicks left to coach soccer at Lower Columbia College in September and the players were left without a coach until the program hired George Moya in January. But the Hawks proved that nothing could stop them.
“Ever since we lost state, it's just this mentality that we've had that we're gonna work hard every single day till we get to this point,” senior team captain Kendall McGraw said about winning the trophy on Saturday.
While without a coach, McGraw helped lead training for the players in the offseason and said the team worked in pods of six until Phase 2 and “did the best they could while mostly working on passing and other technical stuff.”
Head coach George Moya said he was “speechless” about how the season ended.
“You dream about that,” he said. “But, as it's happening, you don't want to jinx it, you don't want to talk about it, and, and you just hope that it happens.”
Moya said he and the coaching staff focused on “staying positive” for the season and “having fun.”
“We tend to forget as coaches that, while we want to do all these exercises, a key component has to be fun, otherwise, why are we doing it?” Moya said. “Even though it's been challenging during the pandemic and full of doubt, the one thing that we could control is the fun aspect of it, so we tried to make it fun this year, of course.”
As for next year, Moya hopes to keep building the program as a powerhouse in the league. Moya said the coaches and players are “going back to the drawing board” as the team graduates 10 seniors. However, he plans to keep “the same sort of game plan” that gave the team success in the first place.
The Hawks weren’t the only local team to take home a District Title on Saturday. The Ridgefield Spudders defeated the Woodland Beavers three sets to one in the 2A District Championship at Hudson’s Bay High School.