Panthers keep on rolling in EWC

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


KOLLIN NEILS, Plymouth senior quarterback, attempts a pass over Kiel linebacker Trevor Agnew in Friday night’s EWC football game. Running back Brad Trakel (7) and lineman Luke Held (right) block for PHS. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley KOLLIN NEILS, Plymouth senior quarterback, attempts a pass over Kiel linebacker Trevor Agnew in Friday night’s EWC football game. Running back Brad Trakel (7) and lineman Luke Held (right) block for PHS. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH — The Plymouth Panthers celebrated Homecoming with a 38-6 dismantling of Kiel in an Eastern Wisconsin Conference football game Friday night before a big PHS crowd at Finke Field.

PHS dominated on offense and defense – rolling up 414 yards in total offense and shutting down the Raiders’ option attack. The Panthers’ defense forced three turnovers, including two key ones which led to 10 points.

The Panthers, who have already clinched a state playoff berth, upped their first-place EWC record to 5-0 and improved to 6-1, stretching their winning streak to six. Kiel fell to 1-4 in the league and 2-5 overall.

Senior quarterback Kollin Neils threw a career-high five touchdown passes, including three to junior wideout Zac Cain, and senior tailback Brad Trakel powered for 82 yards rushing on only 12 carries (6.8 average per attempt) to spark the Panthers’ attack. A balanced offense has been a key factor in the Panthers’ success this season and it was evident again Friday as Neils passed for 232 yards and the running game produced 182.


TYLER KLEMME, Howards Grove running back, follows the blocking from teammate Jonah Gerber against Random Lake in Friday night’s CLC football game. — Photo by Carla Hemb TYLER KLEMME, Howards Grove running back, follows the blocking from teammate Jonah Gerber against Random Lake in Friday night’s CLC football game. — Photo by Carla Hemb “It was a great win. We maybe were not as crisp as we could’ve been but part of that was all of the festivities of Homecoming Week, but we did a lot of nice things,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

Two critical turnovers by Kiel late in the first half helped the Pan thers break open a tight battle as they took a 24-6 halftime lead.


THE PLYMOUTH STUDENT section cheers the Panthers on to a 38-6 Homecoming football win over Kiel Friday night. — Photo by Clare Sedlacek THE PLYMOUTH STUDENT section cheers the Panthers on to a 38-6 Homecoming football win over Kiel Friday night. — Photo by Clare Sedlacek Trailing only 14-6 late in the second quarter, the Raiders fumbled the ball at midfield and PHS defensive lineman Luke Held recovered. Neils connected for three passes totaling 46 yards, capped off by a 15-yard strike to Cain which made it 21-6 with 1:11 left until halftime. Neils also hit fullback Tyler Willeford with a 16-yarder and wide receiver Justin Picard for a gain of 15.

After receiving the ensuing kickoff, the Raiders fumbled on the second play of their possession and defensive lineman Westley Meinnert recovered for PHS at the Kiel 24 with 33 seconds left until halftime. Neils and Cain hooked up for a 12-yard pass to the 12 on the next play.

A pass-interference penalty moved the ball to the 6 and PHS scored on Neils’ 24-yard field goal as time expired in the first half.

The Panthers put the game away with a 13-play, 65-yard TD drive to open the second half which ballooned the score to 31-6 with 4:20 left in the third period. Trakel scored on a 1-yard pass from Neils on fourth down and goal.

The key plays in the series were a 36-yard pass from Neils to Cain which bounced off Willeford, and a 17-yard run by Trakel in which he broke several tackles.

Kiel had a chance to take an early lead after recovering a muffed punt by PHS at the Panthers’ 16. Two penalties pushed the Raiders back to the 31 and they eventually turned the ball over on downs at the 9.

Scoring passes of 8 to Cain and 25 to Willeford from Neils gave PHS a 14-0 lead.

Kiel’s only TD came on a 6-yard sweep by running back Aaron Field in the second quarter.

“Defensively, we played real solid against the run and we kept No. 8 [quarterback Jack Meunier] in the pocket,” Knaus said.

“Brad and Tyler ran hard and block for each other. Our offensive line blocked well overall.”

“We played hard and I’m proud of the team,” said Trakel. “The whole [offensive] line was outstanding.”

Trakel missed the previous game due to a concussion.

“He [Trakel] ran fantastic and our blocking was great,” said Meinnert, an offensive lineman. “We want to get the running game going which gets the play-action pass going.”

“I thought the line gave Kollin plenty of time, and the receivers caught the ball very well,” Knaus said.

“I thought Luke Held played very well at defensive end. He had eight tackles and a couple for loss.”

“Coach Knaus does an outstanding job with them. They have a lot of weapons,” said Raider head coach Mike Dressler.

Dressler thought the turning point of the game was the two lost fumbles by his team late in the first half which he said took momentum away from the Raiders.

Defensive back Justin Picard had an interception for PHS. Cain and Willeford combined for 13 catches and 196 yards receiving.

KIEL 6

PLYMOUTH 38

Kiel Ply
First downs.….................…6 20
Rushing Yards…...............87 182
Passing Yards...................44 232
Comp-Att-Int……........6-14-1 18-26-0
Penalties-Yards..............7-76 6-40
Punts-Averages..............5-34 1-30
Fumbles-Lost………...…..2-2 1-1

Score by Quarters
Kiel.............................0600–6
Plymouth…...............7 17 14 0 – 38
Scoring
Ply – Zac Cain 8 pass from Kollin
Neils (Jared Weinbauer kick)
Ply – Tyler Willeford 25 pass from
Neils (Weinbauer kick)
Kiel – Aaron Field 6 run (kick
blocked)
Ply – Cain 15 pass from Neils
(Weinbauer kick)
Ply – FG Neils 24
Ply – Brad Trakel 1 pass from Neils
(Weinbauer kick)
Ply – Cain 22 pass from Neils
(Weinbauer kick)
INDIVIDUAL LEADERS
Rushing – Kiel, Jack Meunier 8-50,
Aaron Field 19-42. Plymouth, Brad
Trakel 12-82, Trevor Miske 7-29.
Passing – Kiel, Meunier 6-14-1-44.
Plymouth, Kollin Neils 18-25-0-232.
Receiving – Kiel, Bryce Gannigan
5-32. Plymouth, Zac Cain 6-101, Tyler
Willeford 7-95.


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