Panthers repeat as unbeaten EWC champs


WESTLEY MEINNERT of Plymouth pressures Kewaskum quarterback Brett Boegel during Friday night’s EWC football game. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley WESTLEY MEINNERT of Plymouth pressures Kewaskum quarterback Brett Boegel during Friday night’s EWC football game. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley KEWASKUM — Senior tailback Brad Trakel’s huge rushing performance keyed the Plymouth Panthers’ 28-6 win over host Kewaskum Friday night which climaxed their second straight unbeaten and undisputed Eastern Wisconsin Conference football championship.

The Panthers ended up winning the EWC title by two games after Two Rivers, which trailed PHS by one game in the league race coming in, was upset by New Holstein, 28-20, Friday night. However, the Panthers’ main focus was to take care of business against Kewaskum and win the title outright with a perfect record.

“We were on a mission this week to be undefeated conference champions. I’m pretty pleased with the team,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“I told the kids that you earned this opportunity so you don’t have to share it [EWC title] and they did it. This is what we have worked for.”

The Panthers finished 7-0 in the EWC and ended the regular season at 8-1. PHS earned a No. 2 region seed in the Division 3 state playoffs and will host No. 7-seeded Luxemburg-Casco in the first round Friday night at 7 p.m.

Trakel rushed for a career-high 204 yards on only 13 carries and had electrifying touchdown gallops of 80 and 60 yards to go with a 1-yard TD plunge.

“Brad had a huge night. He runs hard but he had a lot of holes. The whole line blocked well,” Knaus said.

Knaus also credited fullback Tyler Willeford with blocking well for Trakel. Willeford also caught a 30-yard scoring pass from quarterback Kollin Neils.

“It [winning EWC crown] feels great. We’ve been working for it all season. It’s been a team effort,” said Panther senior linebacker Cody Hoffmann who was instrumental in Plymouth’s stout defense against Kewaskum. “I’m very proud of the team.”

“Our first goal was to win the conference. It means so much,” said Neils. “We’ve been working our butts since the summer.

“The two biggest keys [to beating Kewskum] were the offensive line and Brad Trakel running the ball. We knew it had to be a team effort.”

The turning point in the game came in the second quarter. Trailing 14-0, the Indians (who finished 4-3 in the EWC and 5-4 in the reglar season) drove to the PHS 4-yard line after Brandon Thull’s 49-yard kickoff gave them the ball at Plymouth’s 41. On fourth down and goal from the 4, defensive back Collin Denzin intercepted a pass in the end zone by quarterback Brett Boegel.

The interception resulted in a touchback which gave PHS the ball at its 20. On the next play, Trakel broke a few tackles and raced 80 yards for a TD which gave PHS a 21-0 lead with 5:06 left until halftime.

The Panthers’ defense deserves kudos as well as it stymied the Indians’ option attack. Kewaskum was held to only 157 yards in total offense. PHS limited running back Thull, one of the top rushers in the EWC, to only 34 yards on 16 carries.

“We contained their veer option. Our ends did their jobs blowing up the plays and then our linebackers were making the tackles,” said Knaus.

“We were very disciplined on offense and kids made plays. We flew to the ball.”

Advance tickets for the Panthers’ playoff game began on sale in the PHS office Monday, Oct. 21. Tickets will continue being sold from 7 a.m.-3:30 p.m. through Thursday, and 7-10 a.m. on Friday. Season passes will not be honored for any WIAA playoff games.

PLYMOUTH 28

KEWASKUM 6

Ply Kew
First downs.….................10 11
Rushing Yards…............270 99
Passing Yards................101 58
Comp-Att-Int…….......7-11-0 10-25-1
Penalties-Yards.............9-90 4-25
Punts-Averages.............4-38 7-29
Fumbles-Lost……….......1-1 2-0
Score by Quarters
Plymouth…..................71470–28
Kewaskum...................0 006–6

Scoring

Ply – Brad Trakel 1 run (Jack Heginbottom kick)

Ply – Tyler Willeford 30 pass from Kollin Neils (Heginbottom kick)

Ply – Trakel 80 run (Heginbottom kick)

Ply – Trakel 60 run (Heginbottom kick)

Kew – Joey Seitz 9 pass from Michael Prochnow (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS Rushing – Plymouth, Brad Trakel 13- 204, Kollin Neils 7-29. Kewaskum, Brett Boegel 8-42, Brandon Thull 16-34. Passing – Plymouth, Neils 7-11-0-101. Kewaskum, Boegel 5-12-1-29, Michael Prochnow 5-13-0-29. Receiving – Plymouth, Zac Cain 4-53, Tyler Willeford 2-31, Collin Denzin 1-17. Kewaskum, Joey Seitz 4-24.


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