Pride of the Bulldogs

Chris Cowbrough
Sports Editor

Kettle Falls’ High freshman Leamon (Jr.) McInelly has always been determined to play football.

The youngster, who has Down Syndrome, loves football and got the opportunity to go out for football this fall as a member of head coach Loren Finley’s first KFHS team.
He has played football from a very young age, even when his parents weren’t too sure about the idea.

McInelly practices with the team during weekday afternoons and suits up for Kettle Falls games under the Friday night lights.

The youngster’s mother, Libby (father Leamon), never thought Jr. would have the opportunity to participate in a high school football program.

But her son was determined to make a long-standing wish come true. Father and Leamon Jr. talked the youngster’s mother into letting him play at a young age. Playing in high school just seemed like a natural transition—Down Syndrome or not.

“I wasn’t too sure about it, but it has been such an amazing adventure,” Libby says.

“And Kettle Falls has been a wonderful community to raise all my children. Lucky for me, I have been blessed to see the special side (of so many people) with a special needs child.”

In Kettle’s first win of the season, a 29-6 Northeast 2B victory over visiting Mary Walker (Springdale) last Friday night, McInelly got to take a knee with the football on the game’s final play. After the game, Moss lifted his diminutive “Battle Buddy” up so he could ring the victory bell along with his teammates.

Read the full story in the September 21 edition of the Statesman Examiner.