Panthers look to learn from debut loss

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


KOLLIN NEILS, Plymouth quarterback, completes a short pass to fullback Tyler Willeford as running back Samuel Staehling leads the away in Friday night’s football opener against Kenosha Indian Trails. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley KOLLIN NEILS, Plymouth quarterback, completes a short pass to fullback Tyler Willeford as running back Samuel Staehling leads the away in Friday night’s football opener against Kenosha Indian Trails. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Panthers began their football season on a rough note but gained valuable experience in their 35-14 loss to a speedy, talented Kenosha Indian Trails squad Friday night at Finke Field.

“I thought our kids competed hard throughout the game. While the goal is always to win the game, we also were able to find positives out of a loss against a quality opponent like this,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus whose team was coming off a 10-1 season a year ago.

“We will learn from this game and improve. We will be a better team next [this] week.”

The nonconference game was both teams’ season opener.

The Hawks, a Division 1 team, shredded the PHS defense for an impressive 442 rushing yards, led by senior quarterback Zach Gianakos who exploded for 248 on 27 carries with two touchdowns. Gianakos ran the option very well. Senior running back Andrew Jazdzewski added 182 yards and three TDs on 20 attempts.

The Hawks controlled most of the first half but managed only a 7-7 tie as the Panthers’ defense forced two turnovers, including a fumble recovery by lineman Luke Held at his 22-yard line. The other turnover was an interception by defensive back Kollin Neils near midfield.

Kenosha broke the game open with 21 unanswered points in the second half to mount a 35-14 lead. Gianakos scored on a 1-yard keeper with 50 seconds left in the third peri- od which gave his team a 21-14 lead going into the fourth. His 31-yard dash around the left end to the PHS 5 set up the score.

Jazdzewski’s 25-yard TD scamper made it 28-14 with 6:18 remaining.

After a quarterback sack resulting in a fumble recovery for the Hawks at the PHS 42, Kenosha needed only five plays to hit paydirt. Jazdzewski busted through a gaping hole for a 13-yard score upped the visitors’ lead to 35-14.

The Panthers led 7-0 after senior quarterback Neils hit junior quarterback Tyler Willeford for a 44-yard TD on a screen pass over the middle. Willeford broke outside and raced down the left sideline to the end zone with 5:17 left in the second quarter.

The Hawks responded with a TD on their ensuing possession when Gianakos raced 53 yards on a keeper with 4:24 left until halftime.

Plymouth’s second-half TD came on an 11-yard pass from Neils to senior wide receiver Clay Henning in the third period. A 28-yard, fake-punt pass from Neils to junior Dominic Bocchini to the Hawks’ 14 set up the score.

Neils had a good game passing with 256 yards and two TDs. He was 19-for-31.

“I thought Kollin and the passing game had some moments when they looked very solid. We need to improve the running game moving forward,” Knaus said.

The Panthers rushed for only 15 yards on 22 attempts.

Defensively, Knaus said the Panthers need to improve their tackling.

KENOSHA 35

PLYMOUTH 14

Ken Ply
First downs.…..............…22 13
Rushing Yards…….........442 15
Passing Yards..................52 256
Comp-Att-Int……........6-17-1 19-33-2
Penalties-Yards..............9-85 6-60
Fumbles-Lost………...…..1-1 1-1
Score by Quarters
Kenosha....................0 7 14 14 – 35
Plymouth…................07 7 0–14
Scoring
Ply – Tyler Willeford 44 pass from Kollin
Neils (Jack Heginbottom kick)
Ken – Zach Gianakos 53 run (Brandon
Deacon kick)
Ken – Andrew Jazdzewski 14 run run
(Deacon kick)
Ply – Clay Henning 11 pass from Kollin
Neils (Heginbottom kick)
Ken – Gianakos 1 run (Deacon kick)
Ken – Jazdzewski 25 run (Deacon kick)
Ken – Jazdzewski 13 run (Deacon kick)
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Rushing – Kenosha, Zach Gianakos
27-248, Andrew Jazdzewski 20-182.
Passing – Kenosha, Gianakos 6-17-1-
52. Plymouth, Kollin Neils 19-31-2-256.
Receiving – Kenosha, Jazdzewski
2-25. Plymouth, Tyler Willeford 6-107,
Clay He ning 7-86.


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