Berlin’s ground attack, defense stymie PHS

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


GAVIN FALK, Plymouth quarterback, unleashes a pass while running backs Alex Teteak (34) and Samuel Staehling provide protection in Friday’s ECC football game against Berlin. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley GAVIN FALK, Plymouth quarterback, unleashes a pass while running backs Alex Teteak (34) and Samuel Staehling provide protection in Friday’s ECC football game against Berlin. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley BERLIN – Berlin’s strong running attack and swarming defense keyed a 28-7 win over the Plymouth Panthers in an East Central Conference football match-up here Friday night.

The Indians improved to 2-0 in the ECC (4-0 overall) while the Panthers fell to 1-1 (1-3 overall). The game was a rematch of last year’s Division 3 first-round state playoff game, won by Berlin, 21-0.

Berlin amassed 303 yards rushing, led by the dynamic duo of Mitchell Kramer and Jack Werch. Kramer, a 190-pound running back, pounded his way through the PHS defense for 140 yards and three touchdowns on 26 carries. Werch, a 150-pound running back with lightning-quick speed, darted for 107 yards on 15 attempts and ran for a TD.

The Panthers were held to only 33 yards passing and were hurt by the absence of junior quarterback Gavin Falk who sustained a probable concussion late in the second quarter and had to sit out the rest of the game. Falk will be sidelined indefinitely.

“[Falk’s absence] takes away some of the things we have the potential to do as an offense,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

PHS rushed for a nice total of 170 yards but 73 of them came on a Falk’s TD run on a keeper which tied the game, 7-7, with 3:24 left in the first quarter.

Plymouth’s standout tailback Samuel Staehling was held to 53 yards on 12 attempts. Without the threat of Falk’s running and passing abilities, the Indians’ defense was able to key on Staehling more which meant little running room for the PHS senior.

The Indians grabbed a 14-7 halftime lead when Kramer burst through off left tackle for a 9-yard TD run at the 8:24 mark in the second period. Berlin had to drive only 29 yards for the score after a 15-yard penalty against PHS for interfering with the Indians’ punt returner while trying to field the ball.

Berlin went up 21-7 on a 25-yard scoring dash by Werch on an end run with 6:11 remaining in the third quarter.

The Indians broke the game open at 28-7 when Kramer punched the ball into the end zone from the 1 with 9:54 left in the game. Kramer gashed the defense with his hard running for all 45 yards in the TD march.

“We just couldn’t sustain a drive in the second half and our defense had a tough time getting off of the field,” said Knaus.

PHS had only two first downs and punted five times in the second half.

“At halftime, I felt we were still in the ball game but when we couldn’t get much offense going in the second half it really hurt us,” said the PHS coach.

“Going in we knew they had a big physical back in the Kramer kid and a quick scatback in the Werch kid. They are a nice team with a good line,” added Knaus.

“We controlled the ball. It was a seven-point game at halftime and I said [to the team] to keep pounding, keep pounding, and try to wear them down and we were able to do that. I was proud of the kids,” said Indian head coach Joe Stellmacher.

“Mitchell and Jack are ‘thunder and lightning.’ Jack has some speed and Mitchell is a horse to bring down. Our [offensive] line did well, especially in the second half. Our defense played solid.”


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