Panthers’ strong comeback falls shy

KENOSHA — The Plymouth Panthers rallied in the second half against a strong Kenosha Indian Trail team but fell short at the end, 27-19, in a nonconference football battle here Thursday night.

The game was both teams’ season opener.

PHS, which trailed 14-0 at halftime, had a chance to possibly tie the game at the end of regulation with a touchdown and two-point conversion. The Panthers had first down and goal at the Hawks’ 10- yard line with 1:30 left. On first down, a motion penalty moved PHS back to the 15.

On the next play, quarterback Dominic Bocchini was sacked and lost a fumble which sealed the victory for Indian Trail.

“I thought we came out a bit tentative in the first half on offense but the players really stepped up offensively in the second half,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“Defensively, I thought other then a few missed tackles, we played very well in the first half. In the second half we didn’t execute as well and I think fatigue played a role in that.”

The Hawks, a Division 1 school, finished 8-3 last season which was only their second year of varsity football. Indian Trail defeated PHS, 35-14, in last year’s opener which was the Panthers’ only regular-season loss.

“Indian Trail is a big, physical football team with a lot of speed. It was a great challenge for our players,” said Knaus.

“What I was most pleased about was our fight. Down 14-0 at halftime, these kids rallied and fought, and showed great heart. Definitely, we can build on this if the kids play with that kind of emotion.”

The Panthers exploded for all of their points in the third quarter as they cut the Hawks’ lead to 27- 19. Junior tailback Samuel Staehling scored Plymouth’s first TD on a 60-yard scamper which made it 14-6.

PHS pulled to within 14-12 after Zac Cain’s 37-yard scoring strike to Jake Schneider.

The Hawks answered with an 11-yard TD run by Cameron Bishop and Lane Ochs’ PAT which made it a 21-12 game.

Schneider, a junior wide receiver, caught another TD pass – this one from Bocchini for 21 yards – which shaved the Hawks’ lead to 21-19. Jared Weinbauer added the PAT.

Staehling keyed the Panthers’ ground attack with 109 yards rushing on 15 carries. Schneider led in receiving yardage with 59 on three catches.

Ochs, a senior quarterback, sparked the Hawks’ 327-yard rushing performance with 152 on 19 attempts.

“For his first start at quarterback, I thought Dominic did a nice job and got better as the game went on,” said Knaus.

“Samuel Staehling ran hard and Zac Cain [wideout and free safety] did a nice job on both sides of the ball. Tyler Willeford played well at linebacker.”

PLYMOUTH
19

KENOSHA
27

Ply Ken
Rushing Yards……..........147 327
Passing Yards.................151 98
Comp-Att-Int…….......12-20-1 5-19-0
Fumbles-Lost………...…..1-1 2-1

Score by Quarters

Plymouth…................0 0 19 0 19
Kenosha.....................7 7 13 0 27

Scoring

Ken – Ian Chatman 3 run (Lane Ochs kick)

Ken – Ochs 9 run (Ochs kick)

Ply – Samuel Staehling 60 run (kick failed)

Ply – Jake Schneider 37 pass from Zac Cain (run failed)

Ken – Cameron Bishop 11 run (Ochs kick)

Ply – Schneider 12 pass from Dominic Bocchini (Jared Weinbauer kick)

Ken – Bishop 10 run (kick failed)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing – Plymouth, Samuel Staehling 15-109, Dominic Bocchini 9-38. Kenosha, Lane Ochs 19-152, Cameron Bishop 20-138.

Passing – Plymouth, Bocchini 11- 19-1-114. Kenosha, Ian Chatman 3-10- 0-20, Ochs 2-9-0-29.

Receiving – Plymouth, Jake Schneider 3-59, Zac Cain 6-52, Staehling 1-26. Kenosha, Chase Fanelle 1-18.


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