Panthers win thriller on late TD pass

RIPON – Quarterback Gavin Falk’s 13-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Alex Shutter with only 30 seconds left gave the Plymouth Panthers a dramatic 24-21 win over Ripon in an East Central Conference football game here Friday night.

The Panthers improved to 4-1 overall and stayed in a first-place tie with Kewaskum in the ECC race at 3-0. The Tigers dropped to 1-2 in the ECC (1-4 overall).

Ripon took a 21-17 lead on a 15-yard TD pass from quarterback Andrew Saul to wideout Jake Henderson with 3:30 remaining.

Falk hit four different receivers during the game-winning drive which also included a quarterback sneak by Falk for a first down on fourth and 1 yard to go.

“We were able to compose ourselves after falling behind 21-17 and constructed a very solid two-minute drill to get a score and a win,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

The Panthers built a 17-0 halftime lead on Falk’s 26-yard field goal, followed by his 60- yard TD scamper and Cody Kuhn’s 3-yard TD run.

“We played very well in the first half with a solid offense and stout defense,” said Knaus.

“In the second half we were our own worst enemy. We had too many penalties and turnovers which gave Ripon good field position. We just didn’t look like the same team in the second half.

“We knew going in that they played a very physical style of football and have played well defensively in the conference so far. They did a nice job of capitalizing and coming back,” said the coach.

Tailback Derek Novotny led PHS in rushing with 63 yards. Falk threw for 153 yards and his top receiver was Shutter who had 46 yards on three catches.

Linebackers Erik Ohman and Kuhn and nose tackle Jared Beck led the PHS defense in solo tackles with eight each. Falk and Mackade Mella intercepted one pass each.

“Defensively, Erik Ohman did a nice job and Jared Beck played well at nose tackle,” said Knaus.

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