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Moses Lake’s Ashley, Johnson to play college football in Oregon

by CASEY MCCARTHY
Staff Writer | June 8, 2021 1:00 AM

Two Moses Lake High School senior football players, accompanied by family, coaches and school staff, signed Friday to play at the Division III level in college.

Quarterback Everett Ashley will attend Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, while wide receiver Brandon Johnson is set to attend Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

Ashley said it feels good moving to the next level.

“It’s a great opportunity to go out there and keep doing what I love and get a great education, too,” he said.

Ashley said Pacific reached out to him shortly after the season ended this spring. He went down for a visit about a month ago, he said, and was impressed with the campus and the coaching staff.

Despite having only a five-game season, Ashley said he feels like he’s been training all year, getting together with some of his teammates for workouts and practice. He said he feels like he’s been able to improve in all aspects of the game.

Ashley said he is focused on reaching his goals both on the field and in the classroom.

“Academics is big for me, I want to keep myself focused in that,” he said. “I hope that I can work hard enough this summer that I can have a shot at being one of the top guys in the lineup as far as quarterbacks go.”

He said it feels good having someone he’s played with, or against, for a long time with him to share this moment. Ashley said he and Johnson won’t be too far apart next season and will have the opportunity to spark a little rivalry when their squads meet next fall.

Johnson said he couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity.

“I’m just thankful that they wanted me and just happy that I get to continue to play the sport I love,” he said.

Johnson said Willamette reached out to him in January and he made a visit to the campus in early May. He said he liked the atmosphere around the program and the brotherhood the coaching staff talked to him about.

Johnson, like Ashley, said he believes most of his growth this year came from working out with his teammates.

“I felt like we grew as a team when it wasn’t a mandatory thing,” Johnson said. “I felt like that was a big growth having to self-discipline, for all of us.”

Johnson will play in the slot receiver position at Willamette.

Being a part of the Moses Lake Chiefs football program has really driven him, Johnson said.

“Having so much support from everybody, having this brotherhood that I felt like we had among the guys and the coaches, it just meant a lot to be a part of that program and have that opportunity,” he said.

Casey McCarthy can be reached via email at cmccarthy@columbiabasinherald.com.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

From the top left, Moses Lake High School assistant athletic director Clint Scriven, Alex Johnson, Ryan Johnson, football coach Todd Griffith, Suzanne Johnson, Brandon Johnson and Jeff Johnson gather together at the high school to celebrate Brandon Johnson signing with Willamette University to play football.

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Casey McCarthy/Columbia Basin Herald

From the top left, Moses Lake assistant athletic director Clint Scriven, Savannah Ashley, football coach Todd Griffith, Justin Ashley, Everett Ashley and Kimberly Ashley gather together in the Moses Lake High School gym to celebrate Everett Ashley signing with Pacific University in Forest Grove , Oregon, to play football.