Panthers have good start in preseason

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


GAVIN FALK, returning starting quarterback, follows his blockers during the Plymouth football team’s preseason practice Thursday morning. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley GAVIN FALK, returning starting quarterback, follows his blockers during the Plymouth football team’s preseason practice Thursday morning. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH — Head coach Dan Knaus is upbeat about his Plymouth Panther football team after the first week of preseason practice.

The Panthers began practice Tuesday and went to full pads on Saturday. PHS, which returns six starters on offense and five on defense from last year’s Eastern Wisconsin Conference championship team, kicks off its 2015 season Aug. 21 at home versus New Berlin Eisenhower.

“It was a good start to the 2015 season. We got what we needed accomplished. The players have been working hard with great attitudes,” said Knaus.

The main focus during the opening week was installing the team’s base offense and defense.

Knaus was pleased with the team’s physical condition heading into the preseason.


PLYMOUTH DEFENSIVE linemen go through a drill during Thursday morning’s preseason football practice. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH DEFENSIVE linemen go through a drill during Thursday morning’s preseason football practice. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley “We continue to have great participation in our summer conditioning program which helps the transition into the season,” he pointed out.

Knaus said the physical part of the game will be an area of focus during the next two weeks.

“First, we take care of the mental aspect, then amp up the physicality,” he said.

“We have had outstanding attitudes and good work ethic. The seniors have been good leaders.”

Knaus pointed out the focus of this week’s practices.

“We will focus on execution at game-like speed and with game- like hitting,” he said.

The Panthers will participate in a four-team scrimmage Friday at UW-Oshkosh’s Titan Stadium, starting at 9 a.m. The other teams will be Sheboygan North, Oshkosh North and Little Chute.

PHS has 30 varsity players and 24 junior varsity players this season. Heading the group of returning starters is senior Samuel Staehling who was an All-EWC first-team running back and defensive back last season and an all-state honorable-mention defensive back. Staehling rushed for 1,261 yards and 19 touchdowns in 2014.

“The juniors have some good players that will fill open positions very well,” Knaus noted.

“We would like to be a bit deeper [on the varsity] but it’s about the same number we had last year.

“We are excited to get the season started and see what this team can accomplish,” Knaus said.

The Panthers will compete in the newly-formed East Central Conference this year. In addition to Plymouth, the other schools moving from the EWC to the East Central are Kewaskum, Campbellsport and Waupun. The other schools are Kettle Moraine Lutheran (Jackson), Ripon, Berlin and Winneconne.


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