Panthers blanked in state playoff opener

by Greg Ceilley of The Review staff


SAMUEL STAEHLING, Plymouth tailback, looks for a hole as teammates Zach Albers (33), Logan Rusch (70) and Alex Teteak block Xavier defenders in Friday’s football playoff game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley SAMUEL STAEHLING, Plymouth tailback, looks for a hole as teammates Zach Albers (33), Logan Rusch (70) and Alex Teteak block Xavier defenders in Friday’s football playoff game. – Review photo by Greg Ceilley APPLETON – The Appleton Xavier Hawks’ ground attack and rugged defense paved the way for a 28-0 win over the Plymouth Panthers in a Division 3 football firstround state playoff game here on a very rainy Friday night.

Xavier, a No. 1 region seed, upped its record to 10-0. The No. 8-seeded Panthers finished their season at 5-5.

The Hawks pounded out 219 yards rushing and held the Panthers to a season-low 64 yards in total offense (30 rushing and 34 passing). PHS managed only three first downs against a quick, swarming defense and suffered five turnovers.

Senior quarterback Zach Simons, the Hawks’ dual threat on offense, led his team in rushing with 104 yards on 29 carries and ran for three touchdowns. Simons attempted only six passes and completed four for 94 yards.

His 54-yard pass to wide receiver Noah Severin set up the Hawks’ final TD on a 4-yard run by running back John Wolske.

“We played with great effort. We just didn’t execute well enough to beat a great team,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“They are a well-coached, physical team with many weap- ons and a defense that played outstanding.

“I thought we played well, defensively, for long stretches but gave up a few too many big plays,” said Knaus.

The Panthers’ leading rusher, senior tailback Samuel Staehling, sustained a neck injury late in the first half and was unable to return.

The Hawks, ranked No. 2 in the wissports.net coaches’ D-3 poll, advance to the second round against No. 5-seeded Luxemburg Casco Friday at Xavier at 7 p.m.


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