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

By Tom Southard

Longhorns open with 30-16 win over Gordon-Rushville


Image Courtesy of Vicki Stull

The Longhorn defense takes down a Gordon-Rushville runner during their game Friday, August 29. The Longhorns were able to blow past Gordon-Rushville in their season opener, walking away with a 30-16 victory.

The Kimball High Longhorn Football Team opened the season with a 30-16 win on the road to Gordon Friday night and coach Nick Kuxhausen was pleased with the effort of his team.

"I was very happy with how clean we played. We only had 3 penalties, and we turned the ball over twice on fumbles, but for our first time out I thought we did quite well in these departments," Kuxhausen said.

The Horns got a big night out of senior running back Jonathon Withrow, including the first touchdown of the game when he intercepted a Mustang pass and ran it in from 20 yards out on the second play of the contest. In the fourth quarter, he had another huge play when he ran a kickoff back 68 yards for his second score of the night. In addition, he ended up with 169 yards rushing on 16 carries averaging 10.6 yards per carry.

Kimball used their running game all night with the exception of 3 passes completing one with Colton Stull hitting Michael Ferguson for a 13 yard reception. As a team, they rushed 38 times for 238 yards averaging 6.8 yards. Colton Stull had a good showing from his quarterback position scoring twice on short QB carries in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Kimball also got 2 points on a safety with Jaden Withrow credited with the tackle, and Enrique Cajero was perfect on his 4 PAT kicks to account for the balance of the scoring. Gordon-Rushville scored their 2 touchdowns on a short run by Ethan Yauncy in the first quarter and a fumble recovery that Dillon Holeman scooped up and carried in with just over 3 minutes left in the game. Both times the Mustangs converted 2 point conversions.

AJ Spicer also had a strong night carrying the football from his fullback position, ending up with 45 yards on 7 carries for a 6.4 yard per carry average and Stull ended with 20 yards on 10 carries.

Gordon went to the air 21 times completing 8 for 81 yards with Kimball intercepting the Mustangs twice, including Withrow's steal for a touchdown and a key intercept by Ethan Land late in the contest when the hosts were threatening to score. Land's grab enabled Kimball to run out the clock and secure the win. On the ground, Gordon-Rushville rushed 29 times for 121 yards, but other than the first period, the Horns pretty much shut their running game down.

On defense, sophomore Jaden Withrow was high on the tackle chart with 6 total including 5 solo stops and a tackle for loss. Colton Stull had 5 tackles with 3 solos and tackle for loss. Jon Withrow had 4 with 2 solos, Michael Ferguson 3 including a sack for a 4 yard loss. Ethan Land had 3 tackles and the big game-ending interception, and Justin Mohr ended with 3 tackles.

Along with his PAT kicking, Cajero was also outstanding on his kickoffs and averaged 38 yards on 3 punts. The kicking game is secure!

The win over Gordon-Rushville was a Western Conference victory but this week's opponent is from out of the area with Southern Valley coming to town for an early 6 p.m. kickoff at Keith Staehr Stadium. Southern Valley is a consolidation of small towns that plays out of Oxford, Nebraska. In their opener this past Friday night they won over Cambridge 35-6, but coach Kuxhausen said "this is a winnable game for us".

The Horns came out of the opening game with no injuries, just the usual bumps and bruises. Kuxhausen credited Jon Withrow with a great game and said Stull managed the game in good fashion. He also credited the line play as being good both ways, especially on defense, and said Land's interception at the end of the game was a tremendous athletic play that was needed at the time.

Southern Valley has a long road trip and the outcome has no bearing on any conference or district standings making one wonder why the state came up with this pairing. Nonetheless, the Horns are wanting the win to keep their season headed in the direction they want it to go. Remember the early start time of 6 p.m. Kimball time.

Kimball 7 7 7 9 -- 30

Gordon 8 0 0 8 -- 16


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