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

A break even season for Kimball Football


November 15, 2018

Drew Beisecker for the Western Nebraska Observer

Kimball senior Izaac Reuter runs the ball during a game against Sutherland earlier this season.

After a winless season in 2017, the Kimball High football team ushered into a new era of 8-man football with a break-even season going 4 wins and 4 losses in 2018.

The Horns came close to going 5-3 losing their season opener 36-30 in overtime to Garden County. They got that long awaited first win in their second time out winning over Southwest 24-6, then lost 24-66 at Dundy County, lost 20-46 to Hemingford, won big 60-42 over Perkins County on Homecoming night, won 76-14 at Morrill, lost 26-44 to Sutherland, and closing out the season at Bayard with an exciting 46-42 victory. A good turn around in the program for coach Ben Aarestad and his staff.

While there are a lot of positive categories for this years Horns, the negative, the coaches and the program are still facing is numbers. Even though they dropped down to the 8-man game, at the last home game, there were only 12 players suited! Only four reserves on the sideline! Of that total, six are seniors who will depart the program, and those six seniors provided a large majority of the stats. The six seniors who will not be back include Jake Jenkins, Izaac Reuter, Zane Anthony, Corey Travis, Toby McManigal, and Luis Portillo.

Before we recap the team stats, let's look at the individual stats and the importance of the seniors. Zane Anthony was right up at the top in several categories and although listed at 5'10" and 160 pounds, he played much bigger and hit as hard as anyone they faced all year. He went both ways of course and led the horns in rushing with 640 yards on 127 carries for a five yard average per carry and 80 yard average per game rushing. He was three for three passing for 107 yards and one touchdown. He was the Horn's top receiver with 14 receptions for 288 yards averaging 20.6 yards per catch and had four receiving touchdowns. Zane was way ahead of everyone in all purpose yards with 1419! He went over the century mark in scoring with 112 points with 17 touchdowns and five two point conversions. Zane was also at the top of the list on defense with 54 tackles including 36 solo stops and had one interception for a TD, and led in fumble recoveries with eight. In the specialty department he led in kick returns with 19 averaging 19.7 yards and had one touchdown, and also led in punt returns with 14.8 yard average.

Izaac Reuter was Kimball's quarterback and was also a leader in many categories and like Anthony, will be hard to replace. Izaac rushed for 584 yards on 88 carries averaging 73 yards a game and was tops with 6.6 yards per rush and scored seven rushing TDs. In the passing department he was 36 of 84 attempts for 634 yards and eight touchdowns with seven interceptions. He led the team in total offense with 1239 yards and 154.9 yards per game. He was second only to Anthony in all purpose yards with 604, and in scoring with 50 points on seven touchdowns and four conversions. The 6'1" 175 pounder also was big on defense listed third on the tackle charts with 25 solo stops and 28 assists and had eight tackles for loss and five fumble recoveries.

Jake Jenkins, a 5'7" 150 pound running back and defensive back was like Anthony and Reuter in that he had good speed and quickness and played bigger than he was listed. Jake had 424 yards rushing on 73 carries for a 5.8 yard average and scored five rushing touchdowns. He had only one fumble on the season.

Jake was third in all purpose yards with 424, and third in scoring with 34 points. On defense he had 18 tackles and 26 assists and led in pass breakups with six. He also had an interception.

The Horns will really miss the three big seniors up front. Corey Travis at 225 pounds even carried the football when needed and scored two touchdowns and three point after conversions for 18 points, but his main function was blocking and tackling. He was second only to Anthony on the tackle charts with 23 solo stops and a team high 56 assists and a team high 12 tackles for loss yardage.

Toby McManigal at 24 pounds also got the thrill of scoring a touchdown but his offensive line play and his work on defense were his main stays. The same Luis Portillo, the Horn's largest player listed at 250. Big Luis had five solo tackles and 18 assists.

As mentioned, going to be hard to fill the shoes of these six seniors, but there are some quality players returning, and hopefully, the coaches can coax a few more players out and the incoming fresh can help the cause.

There is some size coming back including junior Ethan Greenwood who played at 225 this season, sophomore Jared Barns at 190, sophomore Isaac Rohde at 220, junior Blayne Rohde at 195, and freshman Azael Flores at 205.

Some good skill players also returning including junior Brayden Tyan who really stood out before a season ending injury to his shoulder, and Brayden has it all with size, as he is listed at 6'1and 200 pounds, and has good speed. Early in the season he was leading the tackle stats each week and despite with 20 solos and 28 assists. He is a strong legged kicker and scored two touchdowns as a running back with one on the ground and with one reception.

In his sophomore season, Christian Allen-VanPelt scored two rushing TDs and one by receiving plus one conversion for 20 points. He was fourth in all purpose yards and fifth in the defensive stats with 19 solo tackles and 28 assists. He did the punting averaging 33.8 yards and also kicked off 30 times, and returned kicks. A talented young player.

Ethan Ratzlaff was another sophomore who stood out this year. Both he and Allen-VanPelt are already in the 170 pound weight class and both have adequate speed. Ethan scored 22 points on three touchdowns and two conversions and had 12 tackles and 23 assists.

Austin Lulf will be back for his senior year after leading the Horns with interceptions with two. He scored 18 points on two touchdowns and three conversions. He was second in receptions with nine catches for 132 yards averaging 14.7 yards per catch and had two catches for touchdowns. He also had 17 solo stops and nine assists.

Beau Hanks was a junior this year who has size and speed with good hands and could be a key player next year. He averaged 28 yards on his four catches this season.

Jacob Withrow is another returning junior with pass catching abilities and good quickness. He had eight catches for 15 yards per catch average and one touchdown, He had 10 tackles and four assists on defense.

A huge task of Kimball coaches will face next season is replacing the loss of the six talented seniors who will graduate. Zane Anthony was named the Western Trails Conference 8-man Offensive Player of the Year. Anthony, along with Izaac Reuter and Corey Travis were named All Conference, and Luis Portillo and Jake Jenkins were given Honorable Mention All Conference. Hopefully the coaches can coax more young men to join the team, and the incoming freshman class can add support to the program.


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