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

Third Place Longhorns Have A Chance Friday

Another step forward in the Kimball Longhorns football program's comeback is within reach this Friday night at Hemingford.

A road win.

"We've obviously had our struggles, but I think we've been improving slowly but surely," coach Darrell Howitt told the Observer. "With Hemingford, we have an opportunity to continue moving in the right direction."

Howitt said he considers Kimball, Hemingford and Morrill to be "in the same boat" this season, young teams looking to gain experience. He said Hemingord might be a "a little bit better" than Morrill, which Kimball beat 46-12 two weeks ago.

Kimball sits in third place at 1-1 in D1 District 11, followed by Morrill and Hemingford at 0-2.

The Longhorns and Bobcats stack up similarly for Friday's 7 p.m. game.

Kimball is 1-5 overall and Heminford 0-6, and both are coming off defeats by lots of points. Kimball fell 67-22 to visiting first place Bridgeport in a lightning shortened game last week, while Hemingford lost to second place Bayard, 80-34.

As for points scored and allowed on the season, Kimball is 68-78 in the division and 98-368 overall. Hemingford is at 52-151 in the division and 110-368 overall.

Howitt said a key for the Horns this week will be, as always, to "just take care of the fundamentals."

On offense, he said that focus needs to include good "ball security" – not giving up fumbles and establishing the middle run game as in the Morrill game.

"Do that and good things happen," he said.

After the first couple of games, Howitt said, the team has shown some better execution on the offensive side.

On defense, he said, "We continue to play dang hard." He said turning that effort into successful results depends significantly on simple, fundamental tackling.

Even during Kimball's biggest struggles early this season, Howitt said the older Longhorns, the seniors and juniors, have displayed a "good attitude" that makes him proud.

That group includes seniors Trey Schindler, David Wills, Justin Klosterman, James McGinnis, Isaiah Seymour and David Bond. The juniors include Brandon Paxton and Derek Kauffman.

Howitt said he wants the juniors to "step up" next year and keep the program moving forward.

Those two juniors, Paxton and Kauffman, are among the team's statistical leaders so far.

At quarterback, Paxton through the first five games completed 3 of 10 attempts for 96 yards with 2 touchdowns and 3 interceptions and a 67.1 QB rating.

Kauffman, after five games, led the team with 330 all-purpose yards, 225 rushing yards and 95 receiving yards.

Sack leaders are sophomore Connor Deboot with 1.5, Kauffman with 1, and sophomore Hunter Funk with 1. Funk also has picked off a pass.

Kimball wraps up the season 7 p.m. Oct. 14, hosting Bayard.

D1 District 11 Standings

Bridgeport 3-0 / 5-2 overall

Bayard 2-1 / 2-4

Kimball 1-1 / 1-5

Morrill 0-2 / 0-6

Hemingord 0-2 / 0-6

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