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Northland’s Kilburn impresses with returning style, speed and leadership

Mekhi Kilburn finally got another chance with special teams on Oct. 6 after admitting he felt “salty” over the events of the past few weeks for the Northland football team.

It took some time for word to get around, but in the Vikings’ first four games, Kilburn returned four kickoffs for touchdowns and would have scored had he not been called back by penalties. After returning the wax punt, he objected. The team stopped kicking his way.

Then in the fourth quarter of a 46–8 win over the Centennials, the senior speedsters returned a punt 38 yards for a touchdown.

“When the ball is in the air and I’m looking for it, I’m thinking, ‘Where’s my best blocker?'” Kilburn said. “Analyze where the hole is, find the gap and take off. Then with his buddies we reach the end zone and everyone is happy.”

Northland senior Mekhi Kilburn has been so effective in the return game that opponents keep him from kicking the ball. He has also made significant contributions at wide receiver and running back, as well as in the secondary.

Kilburn had just eight kickoff returns and four punt returns in seven games, but kicked off 75 and 70 yards in the Vikings’ 48–28 opener loss to St. Charles on August 18. Recorded the return.

Northland’s game against Whitehall in Week 2 was canceled due to the Columbus teachers’ strike, but they returned the first kickoff 96 yards to score in a 40–20 loss to Urbana on September 2. won.

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