On the surface, Friday night was a 48-16 Kettle Falls loss to undefeated Northwest Christian. The true story of the game, however, was a 54-yard touchdown run by Bulldog running back Leamon McInelly Jr.
Featured in this story by the Statesman-Examiner, McInelly has down syndrome and has played football from a young age. First-year Kettle Falls head coach and former Chewelah coach Loren Finley gave him the opportunity to be a key part to the team this year. McInelly practices weekly with the team and suits up for Bulldog games. In last week’s victory over Springdale, he got to take the knee that clinched the victory for Kettle Falls.
This Friday at West Valley High School, Northwest Christian had built a good lead on the Bulldogs. After Kettle Falls’ McNay Knowlton scored the team’s first touchdown, the Bulldogs scored their second touchdown of the game on a long touchdown run by McInelly Jr. in the fourth quarter.
Northwest Christian had their players step aside and let two Kettle Falls blockers and “Jr.” streak towards the endzone. The gesture by NW Christian Jim Nendel was something not lost on Finley, who expressed gratitude after the game for NW Christian helping with the moment.
Kettle Falls (1-3) will host Reardan this Friday.
At West Valley High School
NWC 48, KETTLE FALLS 16
Kettle Falls 0 0 8 8-16
NWC 21 14 7 6-48
N -Perreiah 62-yard run (Veenstra kick)
N -Perreiah 30-yard run (Veenstra kick)
N -Kershinar 1-yard run (Veenstra kick)
N -Perreiah 35-yard run (Veenstra kick)
N -Veenstra recovers fumble in end zone (Veenstra kick)
N -Perreiah 1-yard run (Veenstra kick)
K -Magni 21-yard pass from MacKenzie (kick failed)
K -McInelly 54-yard run (McInelly run)