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You probably recognize the last names. The families have had plenty of impact on Kalama sports.

But freshmen Bradey O’Neil and Jackson Esary are making names for themselves.

Esary caught two touchdown passes in the Chinooks’ 32-13 win over Toledo on Friday, while O’Neil has paired perfectly with Sutton Moon in the middle of the Chinook defense.

O’Neil is the son of Kalama volleyball coach Jeni O’Neil, and Esary’s older siblings, Parker and Hunter, are two of the more decorated Kalama athletes. Hunter now plays football at Humboldt State University and Parker is a standout basketball player at the University of Providence.

Perhaps even more telling of Esary’s skillset is what McDonald said after the freshman’s breakout performance.

“He definitely moves the same as his brother. He has really great hands,” McDonald said. “I think he’s a little better athlete than Hunter was, and I think you saw it tonight.”

O’Neil looks like he could turn out to be the next Corbyn Byrnes in Kalama, and has the same bruising style. A 33-yard burst showcasing that he looks more seasoned veteran than first-year player.

In any case, the future of Chinook football is in good hands with these freshmen.

Kelso trenches standing out

Kelso’s undefeated start to the 2018 season has featured blowout after blowout, and with each, the linemen on both sides of the ball have earned due praise.

There’s no traditional method for scaling offensive line performance independently, though quarterback Marshall Coleman has hardly been hit and running back Josh Webb has scored 13 touchdowns this season. Defensive line play is easier to judge.

Seth Sutherby has 9.5 sacks through six games and Todd Johanson has eight. The pair have also combined for more than 60 tackles.

“It’s a lot of guys,” coach Steve Amrine said. “Everyone has played pretty darn good.”

Week 8 should prove the Scots’ toughest test of the regular season, when they host the defending Greater St. Helens League 3A champion Mountain View. That’s a game where the line will get its best chance to shine. Until then, Fort Vancouver will have its hands full as the Hilander linemen have been among the league’s best.

5 Washington schools try to join OSAA

In June 2017, Hermiston (Ore.) High School was the first institution to jump the Columbia River and join the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association as a way of cutting down on travel costs for its athletic teams.

Now, five Washington schools in the Columbia River Gorge have petitioned and have been granted by the WIAA to petition the Oregon State Activities Association to join the Oregon 1A Big Sky League in 2019-20 as a way to save on travel expenses.

“The Big Sky is all in favor of it,” OSAA executive director Peter Weber said in a story on the OSAA.org website. “Having those schools in their league they think will help them, too, with not having to go so far away to find nonleague opponents.”

The five schools — Bickleton (30 students), Glenwood (10), Klickitat (16), Lyle/Wishram (89) and Trout Lake (38) will leave the Greater Columbia Gorge 1B League, leaving Sunnyside Christian (49) and the Yakama Nation Tribal School (67) to find a new league to compete in.

The Oregon 1A Big Sky League already consists of Arlington (47), Condon/Wheeler (50), Dufur (84), Echo (77), Horizon Christian of Hood River (70), Ione (65), Mitchell/Spray (46), Sherman (74), and South Wasco County (62).

At the request of its executive board, the OSAA plans to survey the 1A schools about the issue at the next meeting of the delegate assembly Oct. 15. The item will be on the executive board’s agenda when it meets again Dec. 3.

“The board would have the opportunity to act on it in December,” Weber added. “I think there’s the potential that the board could act and approve them, even for next year.”

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Sports Reporter

Rick is a 29-year veteran of The Daily News, and the lead Lower Columbia College athletics reporter. In addition, he tracks former area prep athletes and assists several other beats. He is a Mark Morris grad with a business management degree from LCC.

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