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Amateur Athlete(s): Kya Hammersley & Maddy Lease Add New Twist to the Canal Bowl

Kya Hammersley and Maddy Lease show the boys how it's done when it comes to kicking in the Klamath Basin.

Posted: Nov. 7, 2017 10:47 PM
Updated: Nov. 8, 2017 8:26 AM

KLAMATH UNION -- Klamath Union's Kya Hammersley and Mazama's Maddy Lease have been playing soccer together and against each other for a long time, but come Friday night, they will suit up against one another for the first time in a different sport.

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"Kya and I have been friends for a while and we know each other really well," Lease said, "I think it'll be cool to play against her in football, not just soccer."

The two girls are the starting kickers for their respective football teams. Kya won her starting job by beating out a number of boys in camp this summer.

"You should've seen the guys lining up to compete against her," Klamath Union Head Coach Tom Smith said, "She out did them all, so I said, 'Hey, it's your spot until someone beats you.'"

Maddy, meanwhile, was called into duty out of necessity. At the start of the season, Mazama literally didn't have a kicker on its roster.

"Mazama needed a kicker and with my dad as a coach, it was kind of easy to say, 'Hey, I want to do this,'" Lease said.

It took a little convincing, but once he saw how much her hard work had paid off, Vic Lease couldn't help but tab his daughter as the team's starting kicker in Week 3.

"Maddy comes out here, she starts kicking, she has her mom involved," Vic Lease said, "They got me out here on the field and she started hitting them. When she was lining them up about 20 yards deep and hitting them, I just decided I'll give her a shot."

To have even two female football players in the same town is incredibly rare. According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, girls made up about 0.18% of all high school football players in 2016. With two girls on their rosters, which combine to 61 players, Klamath Union and Mazama's percentage of all players that are girls is 3.3.

This means, statistically speaking, these two schools combine to have 18 times the rate of girls on their team as the average high school in the country, based on 2016 figures.

When the two square off, given their history together, there's sure to be some friendly jabbing going on.

"We were just talking about who can do this and who can do that," Maddy Lease said.

"We have a challenge now that we're dong against each other. I think it will be fun," Hammersley said.

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