Panthers hold off Kiel, stay unbeaten in EWC

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


ZAC CAIN, Plymouth wide receiver, is interfered by an unidentifi ed Kiel defender on a pass in the end zone near the end of the first half in Friday’s football game. Kiel’s Jack Meunier looks on. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ZAC CAIN, Plymouth wide receiver, is interfered by an unidentifi ed Kiel defender on a pass in the end zone near the end of the first half in Friday’s football game. Kiel’s Jack Meunier looks on. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley KIEL — The Plymouth Panthers built a 24-3 lead and then had to stave off a second-half rally by Kiel to earn a 24-17 win in an Eastern Wisconsin Conference football matchup here Friday night.

PHS, which has won six in a row, improved to 5-0 in the EWC (6-1 overall) and remained tied for the league lead with Kewaskum. The Indians defeated Waupun, 27-3, in EWC play Friday night.

Kiel fell to 1-4 in the EWC (3-4 overall).

“You always want to finish a game strong but that didn’t happen on this evening but in the end it was a win and that’s the key,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“They are a quality team. They have two losses in overtime and were in every conference game this year.

“A play here or there, they could easily be 4-1 this season. They have many good athletes that are good players,” said Knaus.

The Panthers took a commanding 24-3 lead with 9:41 left in the third quarter after junior tailback Samuel Staehling raced 33 yards for a touchdown. The possession included only two plays after PHS had set up at the Kiel 41-yard line following a punt.

Undaunted, the Raiders responded with a 14-yard TD pass from quarterback Jack Meunier to wide receiver Bryce Gannigan which made it 24-10 with 8:49 remaining in the third. The 54-yard drive was aided by two PHS penalties, including one for pass interference which gave Kiel a first down at the Panthers’ 14.

The Kiel defense, which swarmed to the ball well in the second half, forced PHS to punt on its next three possessions. Following the third one, the Raiders took over at their 25 midway through the fourth period.

The Raiders, sparked by Meunier’s passing and running, marched 75 yards in 13 plays, capped off by his 3-yard keeper for a TD at the 2:59 mark which cut Plymouth’s lead to 24-17. Meunier ran for 32 yards, including a 17-yard scramble, and threw for 32.

PHS picked up one first down on its ensuing possession before having to punt from the Panthers’ 43 with 1:50 remaining. The punt was muffed by Kiel and recovered by Plymouth’s Kyle Theune at the Raiders’ 13 with about 1:30 left. PHS then ran the clock out.

Kiel grabbed a 3-0 lead on Cameron Freund’s 22-yard field with 7:08 left in the first quarter after PHS went three-and-out on the game’s first offensive series. The big play in the Raiders’ seven-play, 63-yard drive was a 40-yard strike from Meunier to wide receiver Jesus Sandoval which put the ball at the PHS 13.

The Panthers answered quickly with a five-play, 58-yard possession which was climaxed by Staehling’s 4-yard scoring run. PHS now led 7-3 at the 4:54 mark in the opening quarter.

The key play in the series was a 21-yard pass from quarterback Gavin Falk to wide receiver Zac Cain to the Kiel 27. A 15-yard facemask penalty was called against Kiel on the play which put the ball at the 12.

PHS extended its lead to 10-3 on a 22-yard field goal by Jared Weinbauer with 8:12 left in the second quarter. The crucial play in the nineplay, 44-yard drive was a 28-yard pass from Falk to Cain which put the ball at the Kiel 25.

On their next possession, the Panthers upped their advantage to 17-3 at halftime when halfback Tyler Willeford caught a swing pass from Falk and darted 33 yards for a TD with 2:46 remaining in the second period. The series covered 87 yards in only seven plays. Falk completed three passes for 64 yards and had a 15-yard run during the series.

Staehling led PHS in rushing with 131 yards on 23 carries. Falk threw for 181 yards and his top receivers were Willeford with seven catches for 74 yards and Cain, four for 73.

“Samuel continues to run hard and give us breakaway abilities at any time,” said Knaus.

Willeford, a middle linebacker, led the PHS defense in total tackles with 15 and solo stops, 10.

“At the end of the day it’s a win and this game will help us improve and showed the players that you have to earn every win,” added Knaus.

PLYMOUTH 24

KIEL 17

Ply Kiel
First Downs….…............15 13
Rushing Yards………....218 124
Passing Yards...............181 121
Comp-Att-Int……....15-30-0 7-20-0
Penalties-Yards...........7-90 3-33
Punts-Averages...........6-38 7-30
Fumbles-Lost……….….2-0 4-1

Score by Quarters

Plymouth…..................7107024
Kiel................................3 07717

Scoring

Kiel – FG Cameron Freund 22

Ply – Samuel Staehling 4 run (Jared Weinbauer kick)

Ply – FG Weinbauer 22

Ply – Tyler Willeford 33 pass from Gavin Falk (Weinbauer kick)

Ply – Staehling 33 run (Weinbauer kick)

Kiel – Bryce Gannigan 14 pass from Jack Meunier (Freund kick)

Kiel – Meunier 3 run (Freund kick)

INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

Rushing – Plymouth, Samuel Staehling 23-131, Gavin Falk 7-57. Kiel, Jack Meunier 17-58, Brandon Bonde 11-45.

Passing – Plymouth, Gavin Falk 15-30-0-181. Kiel, Meunier 7-20-0-118.

Receiving – Plymouth, Zac Cain 4-73, Tyler Willeford 7-74, Staehling 3-29. Kiel, Jesus Sandoval 1-40, Carter Voelker 1-28, Bryce Ga nigan 2-21.


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