PHS, Kewaskum to meet in final EWC showdown

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff

ZAC CAIN, Plymouth wide receiver, heads upfield on a pass reception as two teammates, including Mitch Meyer (66), block during Friday night’s football game versus Campbellsport. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley ZAC CAIN, Plymouth wide receiver, heads upfield on a pass reception as two teammates, including Mitch Meyer (66), block during Friday night’s football game versus Campbellsport. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH — Over the past decade, Plymouth and Kewaskum have had an outstanding Eastern Wisconsin Conference football rivalry, with both teams battling for the championship almost every year.

Friday night, PHS and Kewaskum will square off one more time for EWC supremacy. The teams are tied for first at 6-0 and the winner will earn the EWC title. This is the final season the schools are in the EWC as they move into a new conference together next year.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Plymouth’s Finke Field. The host Panthers, EWC champions the past two years, are 7-1 overall and riding a seven-game win- ning streak. The Indians are 8-0 overall.

“It has been a great rivalry for many years. These guys have earned the right to play for a conference championship. Now it’s their turn to go out and earn it,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus about his team.

“It has been a great rivalry. I know we respect the Plymouth program and coaches, and believe that they respect us also,” said Indian head coach Jason Piittmann.

“I guess you could say it is fitting that the final EWC title opportunity for the two of us comes down to the game between our two schools in week nine.”

The coaches offered their perspectives on how the teams match up.

“I think both teams are very similar. Both use a mix of seniors and underclassmen. They have a bit bigger line but I think we have more team speed,” said Knaus.

“As usual, Plymouth seems to have plenty of speed. They aren’t quite as big on the line as they have been in recent years but are quick and athletic. I think we are similar in experience levels,” Piittmann observed.

Turnovers and ball possession are two keys to the outcome, according to the coaches.

“Like most good match-ups, play mistake-free, win the fieldposition battle, and block and tackle well,” said Knaus.

“Win the turnover battle and have good, productive possessions. Hopefully make more big plays than them,” said Piittmann.

“I think it should be a good game. I think both teams have the ability to do some really good things and both have shown that over the course of the season,” he said.

“I expect a well-contested, physical football game,” said Knaus.

Both coaches said their teams are about as healthy as they can be for this late in the season.

Both teams have explosive offenses and stout defenses. PHS and Kewaskum have 1,000-yard rushers in junior tailback Samuel Staehling and senior running back Brandon Thull.

Thull has rushed for an impressive 1,738 yards (8.1 average per carry) and 23 touchdowns this season. He leads the EWC in rushing with 1,434 yards.

The speedy Staehling has 1,054 yards (10.2 average per attempt) and 16 TDs on the ground overall.

“Thull is the workhorse for them. He gets plenty of touches [has twice as many as Staehling] but if you sell out on him they have the ability to throw the ball to some talented receivers,” Knaus pointed out.

“Defensively, they are always aggressive and play zone coverage behind that aggressive front.”

“They [Panthers] are very solid in both [offense and defense] and very disciplined,” said Piittmann.

“Their offense has big-play capability but also can grind out drives. Their defense is difficult to block due to their athleticism and speed.”

PHS sophomore quarterback Gavin Falk leads the EWC in passing yardage with 953 (1,029 overall) and TD passes with 10. Kewaskum junior signal-caller Michael Prochnow is second in the league in TD passes with nine and has thrown for 1,005 yards overall.

Plymouth and Kewaskum feature two of the top receivers in the EWC in senior wide receiver Zac Cain and junior wideout Charlie Witek, respectively. Cain ranks second in the league in receiving yardage with 524, and third in receptions with 24 and TD catches, five. His 22.1- yard average per reception leads the EWC.

Witek is second in the EWC in receptions with 27, TD catches, six and receiving yardage with 442.

On offense, the Panthers are averaging an impressive 36.1 points per game while Kewaskum has an outstanding 34.1 average. Both defenses are stingy, with PHS allowing 11.5 points per contest and Kewaskum at 13.8.

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