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Love and friendship is what the Central Washington University quarterbacks convey before anything else.

With the departure of Reilly Hennessey, it has left a vacancy at the quarterback position and three players (Christian Moore, Tai-John Mizutani and Canon Racanelli) are battling it out to commence 2019 spring ball.

During CWU’s first scrimmage last Friday, when one of the QBs was running the offense, the others were rallying for them. They’re bothers regardless of who’s taking the first snap to open up the 2019 season versus University of Idaho on Sept. 7.

“For me, it’s always love first no matter what,” sophomore Moore said. “… I don’t ever want to see them fail, I always want to see them succeed. That’s what a great teammate does. Just trying to love them and lead them the best way I can.”

CWU recently added a fourth QB (Nick Yockey) who came in on a spring tryout as a freshman walk-on, mainly to get some reps to save the other three QB’s arms.

Yockey subbed in the last drive before the scrimmage concluded, and when he would make a great throw or just barely miss an open receiver on a deep route, the guys clad in red jerseys would cause bedlam on the sideline.

“At the end of the day, it’s a competition, but we’re all looking for each other to succeed,” Mizutani, the redshirt freshman said. “It’s so fun to watch the guys that don’t really get reps in practice actually make some plays.”

But there is still the competitive drive even knowing its early before head coach Chris Fisk will announce the starter. Fisk said they’re just trying to figure out what each one of them brings.

“We have our kind of days where we know that someone else is right on our tail,” Mizutani said. “At the end of the day, there’s one position — one quarterback spot. I think all four of us know that and I think all four of us are very capable to do the job. It just comes down to focusing.

“For a lot of these guys — especially me —I didn’t come all the way here just to sit for a couple years.”

And nobody has an edge. Moore although has the most experience, as he was the backup to Hennessey last season as a redshirt freshman. He handled the offensive duties first in Friday’s scrimmage, followed by Mizutani and Racanelli.

Moore appeared in seven games during blow-out victories. He completed 22-of-33 pass attempts with 245 yards and two touchdowns. The 6-foot-5, 225 pound quarterback also rushed for 120 yards.

“Me personally, if I play the way the coaches want me to play and I’m a coachable, tangible athlete, I think that everything will take care of itself,” Moore said.


The 6-foot-3 Mizutani comes from Kailua, Hawaii where he was Iolani High School’s all-time passing leader and accumulated the fourth most passing yards in Hawaii’s history. He was named KHON2 Rising Star.

Mizutani was a three-year starter, throwing for a career 7,702 yards with 55 touchdowns. He also ran for 325 yards along with seven touchdowns.

Racanelli is a 6-foot redshirt freshman out of Hockinson High School in Brush Prairie. He has the single-season record for most touchdowns in a season (74) and led the Hawks to a 14-0 record and the 2017 2A State Title.

He threw for nearly 10,000 yards and notched 124 touchdowns in his four seasons. As a senior, he tallied 4,129 yards with 57 touchdowns and 653 yards rushing with 17 scores. About half of those touchdowns were to his younger brother Sawyer who is a highly recruited receiver with five offers from Division I schools.

Racanelli was named 2A All-State MVP, 2A Player of the Year, State Championship MVP and All-Region Player of the Year in 2017.


Fisk, the first-year head coach for the Wildcats, is no stranger to QB battles. He said he’s been through this process about four times.

The edict of the starter for CWU could happen anytime.

“I think the biggest thing I learned has to never put a timeline on it,” he said. “I think you just kind of know when you know. If we know at the end of spring ball, we’ll make an announcement on it. If we know at the end of fall camp, we’ll do it then. If we go into University of Idaho and Ferris State and on down the line and rotate them until somebody emerges, we’ll do that, too.

“I’m not a guy that really likes to rotate quarterbacks, but sometimes when you don’t know or nobody separates themselves, you kind of do what you got to do.”


CWU’s next scrimmage will take place this Saturday at 9 a.m. After a couple more practices the following week, it will have its spring game that’s slated for May 4 at 3 p.m.

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