On Tuesday Sept. 7, Kimball High School head football coach Ben Aarestad announced that his team has forfeited the entirety of the 2021 season.
Prior to the announcement, the Longhorns had forfeited the first two games to start the season against the Hitchcock County Falcons and Leyton Warriors.
According to Kimball Athletic Director Ken Smith, the team, who plays 8-man football, only had seven players left following some players dropping out of the program.
“We would’ve been down to only seven boys after our numbers were so low and a couple of them decided to quit,” he said. “A lot of the freshmen parents aren’t allowing their boys to play because they are worried about them getting injured playing against just juniors and seniors. We’re not going to be having practices, (so) a lot of the boys transferred to cross country for this year.”
Banner County had a similar situation in 2015 with their 6-man program, in which they cut their program for the same reason and then brought it back in 2020 when the participation numbers went back up.
“It definitely means we will be a year behind next year in terms of playing again, a year behind with practices lost, a year behind from the game experience,” Smith said. “Obviously, that’s a huge concern.”
Luckily for Kimball High School, the program will continue next year after seeing the participation level of the Junior High program.
“We have really good numbers in the Junior High program, and hopefully with those good numbers and the kids who were willing to come out this year, we should be pretty good,” Smith said. “We obviously won’t have a JV program for the next couple of years but if things stay like we think they are, we should be back on track again in three years or so.”
The football team is only one of the groups of students affected by this forfeited season. The spirit squad and marching band have also been affected.
“It’s very disappointing for them as well,” Smith said. “The loss of those opportunities to perform for the spirit squad and our band would’ve performed, so we are definitely disappointed for them too. It affects our programs across the board.”
The spirit squad will still go to the volleyball events and are going to perform at a few junior high football games. The marching band will have three other marching events this year.