By Tom Southard
Reporter 

Kimball Longhorns fall to St. Pats, 37-0, in season opener

 

Vicki Stull

The St. Pats quarterback is wrapped up by a member of the Longhorns' defensive line.

The Kimball High Longhorn football team had a tough season opener, traveling to North Platte St. Pats Friday night where they were shut out by the #6 state-ranked Knight, 37-0.

New head coach Nick Kuxhausen knew going in that his club would be facing perhaps their toughest opponent of the year as the host team went 10-1 a year ago and had lots of experience back.

On the other hand, Kimball has only two seniors on their roster and Dakota Jefferson was sidelined for this game with an ankle injury. Kuxhausen hopes to have him back in the lineup this Friday when the Horns travel to Hershey for another tough contest.

Kimball was also without Colton Stull, projected starting quarterback, who was out with a foot fracture and his status is up in the air for at least a couple more weeks. He is a key defender, as well.

St. Pats rolled up 237 yards on the ground on 38 carries, and connected on 5-of-8 passes for another 119 yards. Kimball, on the other hand, had 126 yards rushing on 41 carries and were 0-for-2 passing with one interception. Junior Jonathon Withrow accounted for 113 yards on 21 carries, backed by fullback A.J. Spicer with 27 yards on ten carries. Top rusher for the winners was Collin Pieper with 114 yards on 20 carries.

Coach Kuxhausen found some positive things, despite the loss.

“St. Pats is a tough team. They execute well and make few mistakes,” said the first-year coach. “I thought our effort was good. Our running game was good, at times, and Jonathon ran very well. Our line blocked well. Some key penalties hurt our passing game, but we hope to get that ironed out this week and get some production out of our passing game this Friday. We are a very young team and we expect to see improvement each and every week.”

Kuxhausen went on to praise senior Jake Reader for his outstanding individual play. The All-State prospect led the Kimball tackle charts with 20 tackles, including eight solo stops and 12 assists. He also caused, and recovered, a fumble.

Withrow had three solo stops and four assists, Ben Sauter was 0 and five and Damien Rutledge was two and three to round out the top defenders.

Friday night, the Horns head east again, traveling to Hershey to face a team that was idle last week. The Panthers had a strong run last year, and Kuxhausen expects this to be another tough test for his young club.

Kickoff is set for 6:00 p.m. Mountain Standard Time.

 

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