Western Nebraska Observer - Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

By Tom Southard

Kimball falls to Cambridge on final play of game; lose 22-21


Vicki Stull

A Kimball running back looks for an opening as several offensive linemen prepare to clear a path in the Longhorns’ lost at home last Friday night.

Kimball jumped out to a 14-0 lead, saw visiting Cambridge come back to tie the contest at 14-14, went back in front 21-14 with :31 seconds to play, and suffered a 22-21 loss when the Trojans scored a two-point conversion with time expiring.

What an exciting Class C-2 football game at Keith Staehr Field this past Friday night as the Longhorns entertained the Homecoming crowd on a wet and windy football night.

Coach Nick Kuxhausen had his Kimball squad ready to play when they kicked off with the wind at their back and sophomore Trent Rutledge set the stage early with back to back tackles for loss, and with a third and 26 situation, Cambridge coughed up the football with Michael Ferguson making the recovery at the Cambridge 1 yard line where Colton Stull took it in for the touchdown on Kimball’s first snap of the football. The clock showed 10:33 1st quarter when Enrique Cajero kicked the first of his three PATs on the night giving the Horns a 7-0 lead.

Enrique’s kick to the end zone gave the visitors the ball at their own 20 yard line and it was three and out for the Trojans as they punted into that strong wind rolling dead at the Cambridge 48.

On Kimball’s second snap of the night, Jonathon Withrow broke through the right side of the line and raced 48 yards to pay dirt with 8:30 showing on the clock, first period and Kimball went ahead 14-0. The defense held again forcing yet another Cambridge punt but this time Kimball’s drive faltered with Cajero attempting a 45 yard field goal that sailed wide left. The first quarter ended with Kimball on top 14-0.

Cambridge would mount a 61 yard drive for their first score coming with 2:40 left in the half with Taylor Kubik throwing to TJ Gregory for a 30 yard touchdown, but the pass for the 2 point conversion try failed leaving it 14-6 at half time.

Following the crowning of the royalty during the half time break, Cambridge would go 59 yards to tie the game with 7:03 left in the third period with Zack Moore bursting right up the middle on a 29 yard scoring run and Kubik threw complete to Brandon Andrews for the 2 point conversion to tie the score at 14-all.

When Cambridge intercepted a Kimball pass in the end zone, they once again mounted a drive that carried all the way to the Kimball 1 yard line for a first and goal. With Jake Reader and company rising to the occasion, they stopped Kubik for no gain, threw Trevor Fritz for a 2 yard loss, and then stopped Fritz short again on a third down play. An unsportsmanlike penalty on the Trojans moved the ball back to the Kimball 19 and Kubik threw incomplete on the fourth down try. What an awesome goal line stand by the Horns!

With 7:42 left in the ball game, Kimball mounted their own drive of 81 yards. Big plays along the way saw stull connect with Jonathon Withrow for a 27 yard first down on a 3rd and 9 play. Withrow broke for a 12 yard first down run, and a Cambridge personal foul call picked up another first down.

Withrow had the next eight consecutive carries ending with his two-yard dive over the right side for the go ahead touchdown with :31.6 seconds left to play and Cajero’s kick made it 21-14 and things looked rosy for the home club, but hold on. Kimball elected to kick short to use some time off the clock with Cambridge taking over at their own 31.

This is where things turned rosy for the visitors as Kubik hit on three straight passes to cover the 69 yards they needed starting with a 36 yard completion to Fritz, a 13 yard completion to Fritz for another first down and then a 20 yard TD toss to Andrews to close to 21-20.

With the clock showing :06 seconds remaining, the Trojans elected to go for the win by-passing a conversion kick to tie. They wanted the two points and the win.

Their gamble paid off as they ran a reverse starting to the left with Gregory coming back to the right for the successful conversion run and with no time showing on the clock, they had doused the spirits of all Kimball fans with an almost unbelievable come from behind 22-21 win. It was high school football at its best and both teams played their hearts out.

It left Cambridge with a 2-1 record and Kimball still searching for that first win at 0-3.

Lots of key contributors on the night for Kimball with Jonathon Withrow in the running to receive the game ball with his outstanding and busy night. He wound up with 35 carries and 186 yards rushing scoring 2 touchdowns. He also had Kimball’s 2 receptions on the night for an additional 28 yards and played big on defense.

A.J. Spicer didn’t find much running room up the middle but the stocky junior fullback had 29 yards rushing on 6 carries. Colton stull was 2 of 6 passing for 28 yards with 1 interception. Cajero had a solid night kicking and punting. Withrow, Angel Flores, and Justin Mohr all had good kick returns. A big night for Trent Rutledge on defense with his 7 solo tackles, 2 assists and 3 tackles for loss yardage. Jake Reader his usual big self with 6 solos, 5 assists, 1 stop for loss and a fumble recovery. Colton Stull had 4 solo stops and 3 assists, and Dakota Jefferson had a good night with 2 solo tackles and an assist.

Coach Kuxhausen commenting on the game said “This was a tough one to lose. I saw positive things. On offense we eliminated turnovers. We are a ball control club and our line blocked well tonight. Our backs ran hard. We shut Cambridge down fairly well. Our coverage was there. Give Cambridge credit on that last drive. They had some great passing and receiving and the conversion call was a great play. Jonathon had a big night and again our line blocked well. Trent, Jake and others had big night.”

Injury wise freshman Jaden Withrow suffered a hit on his thigh but we hope he will be ready this week. Colton Stull is still taping his ankle but it seems to be getting better each week.

This Friday, Kimball travels to Dundy County/Stratton, located south of Imperial and only two miles from the Kansas border.

This week’s opponent is 1 and 2 with a win over Perkins

County and losses to Bridgeport and a Kansas team. They are improved over a year ago.

“We will work hard this week in practice and look towards getting a win on the road,” said Kuxhausen.


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