Kinshasa Martin, owner of the new Tri-Cities Fire, has signed five players already for his indoor football team scheduled to begin play in the new American West Football Conference in the spring.
They include three Tri-Citians: linebacker Kris Welch, a Finley River View grad who played at Eastern Oregon University; wide receiver/defensive back Tyler Merkel, a Kamiakin grad; and tight end/defensive end BK Robinson, who played at Richland High.
Welch is a teacher and coach at Umatilla High, while Merkel has played the last two seasons for the semi-pro Tri-City Rage.
Two other players have been signed: wide receiver/running back Tyler Rollins, who played high school ball in Lemoore and is living in Twin Falls, Idaho; and defensive back Jalen Hicks, who graduated from Ferris High School in Spokane and played some at the College of San Mateo.
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Martin said all five players were signed from the 17 who attended last Saturday’s tryouts at Life Quest Fitness Center in Pasco.
Martin also said he and Corey Pearson, executive director of the Toyota Center, plan to get together after the first of the year to firm up a lease.
Southridge grad Brenden Kelly, who was named an NAIA First-Team All-American last week at wide receiver for Eastern Oregon University, caught three passes for 40 yards in Saturday’s Free Agent Football D1-FCS Senior Scout Bowl in Myrtle Beach, S.C. His longest was for 30 yards.
Kelly played for the North team, which lost to the South, 17-15.
Kelly was asked by event organizers to play up in the D1-FCS game rather than the NAIA contest.
Other college notes
Quarterback Ross Bowers, who led Bothell High School to the 2014 state 4A football title over Chiawana 24-14 — with him scoring a rushing touchdown with a head over heels flip — announced he’s transferring from Cal, where he was a junior this year.
After starting for Cal in 2017 as a sophomore, Bowers lost his starting spot this season.
▪ Braydey Hodgins (Chiawana) scored 19 points and grabbed five rebounds Sunday to lead Boise State’s women’s basketball team to a 73-69 win over the host University of Washington in the Husky Classic Championship.
For her efforts, Hodgins was named tournament MVP.
▪ Blue Mountain’s women’s basketball team lost 49-42 to South Puget Sound.
Katie Skramstad (Touchet) scored 14 points and grabbed 7 rebounds in the loss, while teammate Brooke Wheeler (Prosser) added 5 points and 12 rebounds.
- The Hermiston girls basketball team beat Southridge 67-35 on Tuesday night for its first MCC victory of the season.
- Liberty Christian’s Maddie Godwin averaged 24.5 points, 8.3 rebounds, 6.3 steals and 5.6 assists over three games last week. That was enough to make her a WIAA athlete of the week.
- Walla Walla offensive lineman Patrick Utschinski made it official Wednesday by signing his letter of intent and faxing it into the WSU football office.
- The Associated Press should announce its all-state football teams sometime Thursday. Writers from around the state spent the last two weeks nominating, then voting, on the players.
- Cole Northrop scored 36 points on Tuesday to lead the Richland boys basketball team to a 112-70 win on the road over Walla Walla. According to MCC statistician Parker Hodge, Hanford’s Connor Woodward has scored 196 points in eight games so far to lead the MCC in scoring with a 24.5 points average. Richland’s Northrop is right behind, scoring 195 points in eight games — 1 point behind Woodward — for a 24.38 average.
- Speaking of Richland boys basketball, the Bombers have an intriguing non-league matchup at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, as they play host to Jefferson of Portland.
- Tri-Cities Prep sophomore Talia von Oelhoffen scored 39 points Tuesday night in a 69-45 girls basketball win over Sunnyside Christian. Madeline Gebers scored 21 points and MeiLani McBee added 17 as the Kennewick girls beat West Valley of Yakima 68-60 in overtime Tuesday.
- Kennewick High senior Tim Gee has signed a letter of intent to play baseball next season for Walla Walla Community College. So has Wa-Hi senior Heston Richmond.
- On Jan. 5, the Walla Walla boys basketball program will honor the 1998-99 Blue Devils team that won the state championship, beating Ferris 55-39.
- Chiawana’s Aiden Villarreal and Kamiakin’s Jacob Olson came out of the prestigious Tri-State Invitational in Coeur d’Alene with titles on Saturday. Villarreal when 5-0 en route to the 152-pound title, while Olson went 4-0 with pins to take the 195-pound crown.
- Hanford’s Hayden Henry buzzed through the 182-pound field to win a title at the Hammerhead Invitational at Central Kitsap on Saturday. Henry went 5-0 with three pins. Teammate Jonathan Burt lost 7-1 in the championship to Graham-Kapowsin’s Chris Sparks to place second at 220.
- On the girls’ side, Hanford’s Taylor Wilson (100 pounds), Sunnyside’s Aaliyah Chavez (115) and Hanford’s Grace Nelson (190) each won Hammerhead titles. For her efforts, Chavez was named a WIAA state athlete of the week.
- Pasco’s Mariah Hinojosa (100 pounds) and Othello’s Emily Mendez (105) were champions Saturday at the Lynden Pride of Lady Lions tournament.
Through Dec. 18
Walla Walla 7-4
Through Dec. 18
East Valley 0-1