Horns new coach boasts versatile team

 

August 24, 2017

Dakota Kuhns/Western Nebraska Observer

Dakota Kuhns/Western NEbraska Observer The Kimball Longhorns boast a team of experienced upperclassmen and talented young athletes. New head coach Ben Aarestad and his team of assistant coaches plan to improve daily. The Horns will play their first game on Friday, Aug. 24 against Centura in North Platte. Shown here from front left, are Parker Kudebeh, Connor Cluff, Toby McManigal, Christian Van Pelt, Ethan Ratzlaff, Corey Gardner, Samuel Cajero and Javon Coyle. Middle row, from left, Ethan Greenwood, Jake Jenkins, Zane Anthony, Andrew McCloud, Austin Lulf and Weston Walker. Back row, from left are Beau Hanks, Jaden Mohr, Brayden Tyan, Luis Portillo, Corey Travis, Stephen Bateman, Brenden Walker, Izaac Reuter, Paycen Harroun, Colton Mielke, Kole Bush, Izaac Glanz and Byron Rowley.

The Kimball Longhorn football team returns from a disappointing 1-8 season with high hopes and a new coach, Ben Aarestad, who brings with him a 17-23 career record. Assisting Aarestad on the field are Gene Mohr, Luke Dea and Jarrod Williams.

The Longhorns return several versatile athletes as starters, three offensive starters and three defensive, including seniors Paycen Harroun, an offensive and defensive lineman, and Kole Bush, a wide receiver and linebacker.

"Paycen will be our most consistent lineman this year," Aarestad said. "Kole will be a versatile player, as he will be playing wide receiver, linebacker and will handle the kicking duties."

The remainder of the returning starters are juniors, including quarterback Izaac Reuter, Colton Mielke and Corey Travis.

"Izaac needs to have a very good year in order for us to win some football games," Aarestad said. "Corey will be a leader for us on the offensive line as well as from his linebacker position. Colton has looked very good on both sides of the football during fall camp. He will do a little bit of everything for us this year."

Additionally, returning varsity letter winners include Jaden Mohr, a senior offensive and defensive lineman, and juniors Luis Portillo and Izaac Glanz, also OL/DL, and running back/defensive back, junior, Jake Jenkins.

"Jake will be our leading rusher this year and will be a valuable asset in our secondary," Aarestad said.

Senior Byron Rowley returns to the Longhorn team this year as a transfer. The 6'1", 190 pound senior will be asked to carry the ball and play some inside linebacker for the team. Fellow senior Andrew McCloud, 5'10", 220, joins as a lineman on both sides of the ball and is expected to be a contributor as well.

Zane Anthony, a 5'9" junior at 140, has had a terrific fall camp, according to Aarestad, and will be playing wide receiver and defensive back this fall.

Other top newcomers include sophomores Austin Lulf, a special teams athlete, and Ethan Greenwood, a lineman on both sides of the ball. The freshman tagged as game changers are Javon Coyle, 5'10" and 150, Ethan Ratzlaff, 5'8" and 150.

"Javon has a great nose for the ball and even though he is a freshman, he could be in line for some starting positions this season," Aarestad said. "Ethan will be a special teams player for us this year and hopefully getting some varsity time towards the end of the year."


Aarestad will rely on the experience of his returning athletes and the strengths of the top newcomers as he works with his young team.

"If we can stay healthy and our young kids get better, we have a chance of doing some good things this season," he said. "A lot of our success will hinge on our ability to throw the football. Our skilled kids are pretty good and Izaac (Reuter) will do some good things at QB. He just needs some time to throw the ball and have our athletes run with it."

Aarestad will enjoy a good group of underclassmen to draw from along with a big class of juniors on the team.

"Our team goals are to get better each day," he said. "If we can get better and improve each day, we will compete in each game."

The Longhorns open the season on Thursday, Aug. 24, at North Platte. The game will appear on Citylink for those unable to travel to the game.

 

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