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

By Tom Southard

Longhorns topple Perkins County by 37-8 final in Saturday evening matchup


Vicki Stull

The Longhorns relied on their ground game in their most recent win.

The Kimball Longhorns picked up their third straight win of the season in a storm delayed Saturday evening win over visiting Perkins County at Keith Staehr Field.

When an Ocotober snow storm swept into the panhandle on Thursday, the game was moved up to an earlier Friday evening kickoff time of 5 p.m. and then postponed until Saturday at 4 p.m. when the weather deteriorated even more. No problem for the Horns as they ran past Perkins County 37-8 to even their season record at 3-3.

At kickoff Saturday evening, it was sunny, but very windy and cold. Jonathon Withrow got the scoring underway early returning the opening kickoff 80 yards but Enrique Cajero’s PAT kick was blocked leaving Kimball ahead 6-0 with 11:44 showing on the clock first period.

The Plainsmen were held to three and a yard short following the kickoff but elected to go for it on fourth down. Jake Reader and Damien Rutledge stuffed the quarterback carry and Kimball took over on the Perkins County 45 yard line. Withrow got 7 yards and AJ Spicer broke for a 38 yard touchdown run on a counter left play on the second snap to put Kimball up 13-0 after Cajero’s kick with the clock showing 9:24 1st quarter.

Spicer, who would cross the goal line three times, scored twice more in the second quarter on a 28 yard run where he broke multiple tackles on the way to the goal line and later on a 2 yard plunge straight into the middle. The PATs failed both times on a kick and an attempt to run it in for the two point conversion. The first score was the result of an 84 yard rive and ten second score came after an Ethan Land interception and return to the Perkins County 27 yard line. Kimball would score once more before half time after Reader and crew stopped the visitors once again on a fourth down attempt at the Kimball 44. Withrow got most of the yardage on a 33 yard run with Michael Ferguson throwing a great block down field to spring him.

Colton Stull got the touchdown on a 1 yard quarterback sneak with just :13 seconds remaining before half time. The Horns went to the half time locker room leading 31-0.

Perkins County got their lone touchdown of the night with 7:57 left in the third period with Christian White getting loose for d 32 yard run and then the sophomore quarterback threw complete to Chase Miyamoto for the two point conversion. Highlights of the fourth quarter were a blocked punt by Spicer and stull connecting with Trent Rutledge in the end zone for a 14 yard touchdown with 3:43 remaining in the contest, leaving Kimball with the 37-8 victory.

Perkins County ended up with 203 total yards of offense on 49 carries for 198 yards rushing and 2 of 4 passes completed for 5 yards with 1 intercepted. Kimball rushed 46 times for 354 yards averaging 7.7 yards per carry for 4 rushing touchdowns. Stull was 3 of 6 passing for 32 yards and 1 touchdown. The Horns held their penalties for 6 for 40 yards.

Jonathon Withrow with his usual big night carrying the football 29 times for 219 yards and had 1 catch for 14 yards. With his kick returns, he ended up with 316 all purpose yards on the night.

AJ Spicer had his best outing of the season ending up with 107 yards on 11 carries scoring 3 touchdowns with his hard running. He averaged 9.73 yards per carry and also stood out on defense. He suffered a minor injury when he blocked a punt, but returned to action after a few anxious minutes on the sideline.

Jake Reader had his best stat night yet on the tackle charts with 14 solo tackles and 14 assists! His blocking was a sight to behold as well. He and Trent Rutledge recorded sacks.

You couldn’t go wrong naming any of these three for your star of the week!

You could throw Damien Rutledge into the mix as well as he ended up with 8 tackles including 4 solo stops. Spicer was in on 5 tackles, Dakota Flores had 5, Justin Mohr 5, Michael Ferguson 4, Ben Sauter 5, Dakota Jefferson 5, and many others made the tackle charts. Land had the interception, Spicer the blocked punt, and Seth Schanaman a fumble recovery.

Perhaps the most important highlight of the game was the play of the offensive line as they were outstanding with their blocking inside and out when they had to pull and clear the way downfield on the sweeps and pitches. The five starters from left to right are Enrique Cajero, Damien Rutledge, Ben Sauter, Jake Reader, and Dakota Jefferson. Name all five as the Star of the Week!

The tight ends, Trent Rutledge and Justin Mohr also were getting the job done.

Coach Nick Kuxhausen also praised the play of his offensive line.

“Our line is really playing well right now. They are getting their blocks at the line and then getting down field and taking care of the line backers and giving our backs room to break some longer runs. Jonathon and AJ really ran well and were hitting the holes hard. It’s nice to have two 100 yard rushers and AJ is really starting to run hard inside and is running over people. I would like to run Colton even more but he got shook up on a play where he almost scored down at the north end zone and we didn’t want to risk getting him hurt any more. He gives us three capable starting backs. Everyone did their roles on defense and Jake had his biggest night yet. Damien had a good night and the entire team played so well. It was an entire team win”.

The only negative on the night might have been in the PAT kicking department which has been so solid all season. Kuxhausen explained it as a let down in the blocking scheme. “It’s something we will get fixed this week," he said. The Horns have a bye week and are idle this week before they return to action against Bridgeport on the road October 18th.

“We play Bridgeport next at their house and they will be very tough. They are having a very good year and we will have to play our best to bring home a win,” Kuxhausen said.


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