Observations all along the line - Kimball & the Southern Panhandle First

Record performance in the 2013 Longhorn season

The 2013 Kimball High Football Team had some record breaking performances with two individuals writing their names into the school record books. It was a fruitful season for new head coach Nick Kuxhausen as he and his staff directed the Longhorns to a state playoff and a 4 win, 5 loss, overall season.

The Horns had a rough start facing top ten ranked teams in their first three outings and were sitting 0-3 before they got their first win. They opened with a 37-0 loss at North Platte St. Pats, fell to Hershey 48-7, and lost a heart breaker to Cambridge, 22-21, with the winners getting a last second touchdown just when it looked like Kimball had the win secured. A trip to Dundy County produced a 40-8 victory, followed by a 61-40 win over Mitchell, and a 37-8 win over Perkins County. A 28-8 loss at Bridgeport was followed up by a 28-27 win over Bayard to even out the regular season at 4-4. They gave the #3 state ranked Blue Hill team a real battle before falling 21-6 to end their season.

With only two seniors on the squad this season, coach Kuxhausen has a lot of experience returning next year, but it will be hard to replace Jake Reader and Dakota Jefferson. Jefferson is a young man who got only his senior year of football after battling some injuries but came on to have a memorable season. Reader will leave Kimball High as one of the best to ever play the game for the Big Red. His name will go right to the top of the list in some of the school records, including career fumble recoveries with 15. He demolished the tackle records for Kimball High in both season stats and career totals. For the 2013 season, the 6'3", 225 pound dynamo charted 160 tackles including 79 total with 6 sacks for 160 total to move past Kevin Buescher who had 154 total in the 1979 season. His 79 solo tackles took out another family member as his Dad, Brad Reader, had 69 from the 1985 season, who went on to have a collegiate career at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Colorado. The NSAA uses a point system to figure their tackles allowing 2 points for a solo tackle and 1 for an assist. Using this formula, Jake ended up with 539 points to take over the #1 spot in career tackles, surpassing the 451 points by Kurt Brower who ended his career in 1989.

Jake had 168 career solo stops and 203 assists for 355 tackles. Brower had 177 solo stops and 97 assists for 274 total. Dave Soto, who went on to star at the University of Omaha, actually had more total tackles than Brower but only 120 solo and 174 assists for 294 total and ended his career in the 1977 season. Reader was also a standout offensive lineman as well, and has received interest from several colleges and without a doubt will advance to the collegiate level of the sport at some level. Coach Kuxhausen said "We may never be able to replace a player like Jake Reader."

Jonathon Withrow, a 5'9", 160 pound junior, also wrote his name into the school record books as a running back. The durable young man who sees the field so well and uses his blocking equally well, set a new school single game rushing mark with his 266 yards in the win over Mitchell. He also set a new school season record for yards rushing with 1412 yards on 226 carries averaging 6.25 yards per carry. This surpasses the previous record of 1142 yards held by Jeff Fiehtner set in 1985 when he carried 225 times for a 5.1 yard average. His career mark so far shows him with 1780 yards on 312 carries and a 5.7 yard average. John McConnell holds that record at 2611 yards on 492 carries and a 5.3 average with his career ending in 1992. To date, Withrow has 132 points scored which puts him in 13th place and he tallied 84 points this past season.

Returning along with Withrow next year is senior quarterback Colton Stull and senior fullback AJ Spicer, both of whom had great junior seasons this year. All of the receiving corp also returns, as does Enrique Cajero, one of the area's better kickers. Michael Ferguson, a junior, and Trent Rutledge, a sophomore, are back at the ends, and Angel Flores, a sophomore, is another top receiver.

Stull missed one game as he recuperated from an injury, and was slowed a bit as he began to play, but came on to complete 41 of 87 pass attempts for 505 yards with 5 touchdowns and 6 interceptions and a .471 completion percentage. Sophomore Ethan Land shows promise as his backup and led the reserves to their wins and a perfect 4-0 season. Ferguson was the top receiver with 14 catches for 213 yards averaging 15 yards per catch with 1 TD. Withrow also had 14 catches for 172 yards and 2 TDs. Rutledge and Flores both had TD catches.

Along with Withrow in the rushing department, AJ Spicer had 76 carries for 403 yards, averaging 5.3 yards and carried for 4 touchdowns. The Horns had 9 players total carry the ball over the year and as a team, rushed 375 times for 2013 yards, averaging 5.37 yards per carry sand 223.7 yards per game with 23 touchdowns.

In the scoring department, Withrow led with 84 points, Stull had 42, Spicer and Cajero 26 each, and Flores 18. Trent Rutledge and Michael Ferguson had 6 each. Cajero scored all of his points kicking hitting on 20 of 27 PAT attempts and 2 of 3 field goal tries. He also handled kickoffs and punting and his strong leg should only get stronger.

No one close to Reader on the tackle charts as his 160 is one of the best in the state! Damien Rutledge is next on the Kimball charts with 59 total. Withrow had 45, Ben Sauter 40, Michael Ferguson 36, Colton stull 32, DAkota Jefferson 32, AJ Spicer 29, Justin Mohr 22, Angel Flores 20, Ethan Land 17, Jaden Withrow 15, and Dakota Flores with 15 were others in double figures. Trent Rutledge registered 4 sacks.

With all of the experience returning, next year appears to be bright. With one of the largest turnouts for the junior high football program, which had a very successful season, Kimball High football looks to be headed in a very good direction. congrats on a good season of 2013!