Football looking for next quarterback


Canon Racanelli, Tai-John Mizutani and Christian Moore are competing for the starting quarterback position for next fall.

Bryce Weedman, Senior Sports Reporter

Three Wildcat quarterbacks are currently competing for the chance to be the starter come next season. The Wildcats will start their season against the Idaho Vandals on Sept. 7.

Previously the Wildcats had starter Reilly Hennessey on their roster until his time ran out in college football. He graduated and is now on his way to playing overseas for the Italian Football League’s Parma Panthers, according to Ifiberone. Hennessey left CWU with a 19-4 overall record. Hennessey’s senior year was followed by nominations for GNAC Player of the Year award and the Harlon Hill Trophy.

“It’s going to be real tough. Reilly’s a great guy, great mentor for us,” said redshirt freshman Tai-John Mizutani. “But I think the three of us as individuals, we don’t want to be known as Reilly’s replacement. We want to make our own name for ourselves.”

The three quarterbacks fighting for the starting job are sophomore Canon Racanelli, redshirt-freshman Tai-John Mizutani and sophomore Christian Moore. All three quarterbacks have their own style, according to Racanelli, and it shows during practice. According to CWU Athletics, Mizutani accumulated the fourth most passing yards in Hawaii history during his high school career. During this time period, Mizutani was also named KHON2 rising star, was a three-time first team Interscholastic League of Honolulu (ILH) quarterback, was a two-time scoring live athlete of the week and was a three-time Star Advertiser player of the week. Mizutani also holds the Lolani high school single game passing record of 506 yards, and threw for a total of 7,702 yards and 55 touchdowns. Mizutani has not yet played for CWU, but was able to at least suit up for the game against West Texas A&M University last year.

“The atmosphere was crazy, it was unlike any other and I’m from Hawaii, so watching the [Hawaii University] games they’re alright, but the atmosphere is not even close to what it’s like in [Tomlinson Stadium],” Mizutani said.

In high school Racanelli set the all time single season record in Washington state for touchdowns with 74, which led Hockinson High School to a state championship in 2017. They had a 14-0 record that season and Racanelli was named the 2A All-State most valuable player in 2017.

Racanelli is the shortest of all three of the quarterbacks, standing at 6 feet. According to Bleacher Report, quarterbacks 6 foot 1 and under are more likely to get sacked than taller quarterbacks.

“Just being able to take hits, and I just have to keep bulking up, and gettin ready for fall,” Racanelli said. “But so far taking hits hasn’t been a super difficult thing for me since I’m a pretty flexible guy.”

Moore, standing at 6 feet 5 inches, is the only quarterback who has experience at the college level, backing up Hennessey, according to CWU athletics. Moore played in 10 games, and although he only threw 33 times in 2018, he had a 149.03 QB rating. A quarterback rating is a statistical analyses based on four categories: percentage of completions per attempt, average yards gained per attempt, percentage of touchdown passes per attempt and percentage of interceptions per attempt, according to The highest quarterback rating is 158.3, so Moore’s rating of 149.03 is very high for the short amount of throws last year.

In high school Moore threw for 3,500 yards and 30 touchdowns at Bellarmine Preparatory School. He was named captain his senior year and was invited to the East-West All-Star Game. Moore was also a two sport athlete, holding the single season rebounding record at Bellarmine.

According to Kelly Bills, offensive coordinator and quarterback coach, no one has the edge as of now. Inner-squad competition aside, Moore said that battling for the top spot this off-season has been all about love and respect for his fellow Wildcat quarterbacks, both on and off the field.

“First off I’ll say that those two guys Tai-John and Canon are both great dudes. With us, it’s friendship and love before the quarterback battle,” Moore said. “We want to see each other succeed. It’s not like one guy wants to see the other guy not succeed.”