By Pastor Vince Carrig
Senior quarterback Elliot Carlson threw for three touchdowns and rushed for 250 yards and two more touchdowns to lead the Plainsmen to a 32-7 rout of the Kimball Longhorns Friday night in Grant.
Carlson willed himself into the end zone with strength and speed near the end of the third quarter, breaking 235-pound lineman Ben Simpson’s leg tackle, staying upright despite a shove and another arm tackle, and outracing a chasing Beau Hansel for a 64-yard touchdown run and a 25-7 Plainsmen lead.
“When everybody blocks their man, you just have one man to beat, and that’s your job—you have to do it. You’ve got to be pretty determined to beat your man,” Carlson modestly said of the long scoring run after the game.
Receivers took three of Carslon’s five completions “to the house.” Tim Johnson grabbed a short throw at his waist and sprinted right out of linebacker coverage for a 29-yard score and a 6-0 Perkins County lead.
Carlson’s longest run of the game—from 66 yards away 5:16 into the game—notched the winning touchdown. Following guard Blake Poppe’s “pancake” block on Kimball’s Jake Reader into an open-field race beyond defensive back Austin Pile, Carlson reached his goal untouched.
The visiting Longhorns resisted Perkins County’s efforts to sweep them into an early blowout, marching 61 yards to pull Kimball within six points (13-7) right as the second quarter began. Receiver Jonathon Withrow’s pink socks did not prevent him from taking a pitch from quarterback Austin Pile and gaining the right edge for a three-yard touchdown to complete the drive.
Kimball showed some offensive firepower on their only scoring drive, with Pile hitting Caleb Reuter over the middle for a 24-yard gain through the air, and Pile calling his own number to run 21 yards east along the right sideline.
Expected to take the last yard of a 95-yard touchdown march after Kimball’s only score, Carlson surprised the Longhorns defense with a jump-pass to wide-open tight end Colton White.
“It was pretty exciting, I was pretty stoked. It was a perfect pass. It’s my first touchdown ever!” the 6-foot-2, 190 pound senior White said.
The Plainsmen defense played well as a unit, sending the Longhorns away without points on drives that reached the Plainsmen four, 18, 26, and 28-yard lines.
Senior linebackers Vinny Ross and Alex Malmkar stuffed Kimball fullback Bernie Bridge on a critical 4th-and-2. Still hanging around at 19-7, the Longhorns desperately needed points with 39 seconds left in the third quarter. Ross and Malmkar quickly threw up a wall at the Plainsmen 35-yard line, and referees turned Kimball away after measuring the football as inches short of the first down marker.
Chase Miyamoto sold cornerback Zach Rockhold on a post route then curled back toward Carlson for a catch; the junior Perkins County receiver then dazzled the defender with a move at the Kimball 12-yard line and cruised in for a touchdown with 2:46 left.
“More and more teams are going to commit eight-to-nine guys to stop our run game—that should give us some single coverage or even uncovered receivers in the passing game,” Plainsmen Head Coach Chip Kay said after the game. “If we can execute the passing game correctly it will make it very difficult to key on our run game, especially if completions can become touchdowns.”
Plainsmen linebacker Alex Johnston, Carlson and White all sacked Pile and contributed to keeping Kimball 0-for-2 on fourth down conversion attempts.
Defensive back Austin Thelander continued to excel by hanging out on the corner, keeping receivers in front of him and taking two turnovers for the Plainsmen. Thelander alertly pounced on a backward, overhand pass from quarterback Pile to running back Colton Stull after Stull dropped the ball, and later positioned himself perfectly for an underthrown bomb from Pile for an interception and 23-yard return.
Kimball linebacker A.J. Spicer locked on to a short Plainsmen pass at midfield and intercepted it before tacking on a 22-yard return to spark hope on the south sideline. Trailing 19-7, the Longhorns got a 20-yard pass reception from Zach Rochold, but kicker Enrique Cajero missed a 28-yard field goal wide left as halftime stopped play.
“We are always proud of our players when we can come away with a victory,” Coach Kay said. “Kimball came out in a “3-5” defense, [which] they had not shown on any of the four game films we saw, leading to some confusion in our blocking schemes and quarterback reads. Kimball has also improved, and coming off of two wins, I knew [the game against them] was not going to be a walk in the park.”
The Plainsmen defense allowed no Kimball starter a run longer than six yards.
The 6-foot-4, 270 pound Ross returned the halftime kickoff 17 yards.
The Plainsmen offense punted just once in the game.
Referees made three “pass interference” calls Friday night.
The Plainsmen tote their 5-0 record 115 miles southeast to Oberlin, Kan. to face the 2-3 Decatur Community High School Red Devils. Four of five Decatur games have ended lopsided, with the Red Devils shutting out common opponent Cambridge, 26-0, but losing 24-0 and 35-2 to Phillipsburg and Norton, respectively.
Perkins Co. 32, Kimball 7
1 2 3 4
Kimball 0 7 0 0—7
Perkins Co. 13 6 6 7–32
Rushing leaders—Perkins County: Carlson 21-250 (66T) 2TD; Johnson 5-52 (46); Johnston 4-30 (13); Toner 1-6; Kimball: Bridge 11-22 (5); Stull 6-17 (5) TD; Pile 6-17 (5); Flores 2-15 (11) Rockhold 9-14 (6).
Passing leaders—Perkins County: Carlson 5-9-66-3-1; Kimball: Pile 9-26-139-0-2.
Receiving leaders—Perkins County: Johnson 1-29 TD; Miyamoto 1-24 TD; Johnston 2-12 (6); White 1-1 TD; Kimball: Withrow 3-37 (26); Reuter 2-31 (22); Rockhold 2-30 (20); Stull 1-26; Bridge 1-15.
Tackling leaders—Perkins County: Malmkar 9 (5); Carlson 7.5 (4); Ross 5 (1); Johnston 4.5 (3); Thelander 4.5 (2); Walker 4.5 (1); Miyamoto 4 (3); Poppe 4 (1).