Staehling runs wild, leads PHS to big win

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


BEN POTRYKUS, Plymouth defensive back, tackles Kettle Moraine Lutheran running back Tyler Precia during Friday’s ECC football game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley BEN POTRYKUS, Plymouth defensive back, tackles Kettle Moraine Lutheran running back Tyler Precia during Friday’s ECC football game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – Senior Samuel Staehling had a sensational rushing performance here Friday night – piling up a school-record 371 yards and scoring seven touchdowns to spark the Plymouth Panthers to a 55-20 rout over Kettle Moraine Lutheran (Jackson).

It was a much-needed win for the Panthers who improved to 2-1 in the East Central Conference (2-3 overall). PHS, who played their first home game since the season opener, bounced back from a 28-7 loss at Berlin in ECC play.

Staehling started at quarterback instead of his normal tailback spot because of the absence of junior quarterback Gavin Falk who was sidelined with a concussion which he sustained in the Berlin game. Staehling lined up in the backfield most of the game and was unstoppable, utilizing his outstanding speed and power to go with strong blocking by his teammates.


SAMUEL STAEHLING of Plymouth (right) runs free against the Kettle Moraine Lutheran defense in Friday’s ECC football game. Staehling scored seven touchdowns to spark the Panthers’ 55-20 rout. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley SAMUEL STAEHLING of Plymouth (right) runs free against the Kettle Moraine Lutheran defense in Friday’s ECC football game. Staehling scored seven touchdowns to spark the Panthers’ 55-20 rout. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley Staehling ran for six TDs – four covering over 50 yards, led by a 70-yard dash in the second quarter which gave PHS a 28-20 lead. The Panthers exploded for 27 points in the second quarter to seize a 34-20 halftime lead after trailing 14-7 early in the period.

Staehling broke Plymouth’s single-game rushing record of 311, set by running back Nick Mueller in 1996.

“We came out with an explosive offense and the line had a great push and we had some great runs. The offensive line did a great job,” said Staehling who also caught a 50-yard TD pass from Jake Schneider.

Sophomore running back Derek Novotny contributed 102 yards rushing and a 72-yard TD scamper for PHS which racked up an amazing 530 yards on the ground.

“This is hard to put into words,” said Staehling about his memorable game. “It was fun and all but it’s the win that matters.

“It’s something that you may- be dream about but nothing you expect week in and week out. It means a lot and that we are getting on the right track [as a team],” said a humble Staehling.

“Offensively, we turned a negative with our quarterback [Falk] out and turned it into a positive, and our offensive line and Samuel responded, and they couldn’t stop him” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus who had Staehling run the read-option and line up in a wildcat formation at times.

“Our offense carried us in the first half and our defense took over in the second half. The defense stepped up after the first quarter.”

Senior defensive end Ethan Keller led a fierce PHS pass rush with an impressive five quarter- back sacks. Junior linebacker Joe Chandler paced the Panthers’ defense in total tackles with 14, including six solos. Keller, who had nine total tackles, shared the team lead in solos with Chandler.


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