Panthers roll, earn share of ECC crown

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

CODY KUHN, Plymouth running back, sprints 51 yards for a touchdown in Friday night’s ECC football game against Waupun. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek CODY KUHN, Plymouth running back, sprints 51 yards for a touchdown in Friday night’s ECC football game against Waupun. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek PLYMOUTH – Senior Cody Kuhn exploded for a career-high 225 yards rushing and ran for four touchdowns to spark the Plymouth Panthers to a 49-7 drubbing of Waupun in football action Friday night at Finke Field.

The victory on Senior Night earned the Panthers a share of the East Central Conference championship with Berlin and Kewaskum at 6-1. PHS finished third in last year’s inaugural ECC race.

PHS, which bounced back very strong after a tough 10-7 loss to Kewaskum a week earlier which knocked it out of the sole lead in the ECC race, improved to 7-2 overall.

The Panthers will host Greendale in the first round of the Division 3 state playoffs Friday at 7 p.m. PHS is seeded No. 3 and Greendale is No. 6.

Waupun finished 2-5 in the league and 3-6 overall.

PHS, fueled by a dominant performance from its offensive line, racked up a season-high 408 yards on the ground. Kuhn, a running back/wide receiver, needed only nine carries to do his damage – averaging a whopping 25.0 yards per attempt. Junior tailback Derek Novotny pitched in with 86 yards on only seven carries.

The speedy Kuhn had four TD runs of over 40 yards each, capped off by a 60-yard scoring dash in the third quarter which pushed the Panthers’ lead to 49-0. His 54-yard scamper gave PHS a 7-0 lead with 4:46 left in the first quarter. PHS mounted a 42-0 halftime lead.

Plymouth’s defense held the Warriors to only 51 yards passing and just seven completions in 27 attempts. Waupun quarterback Reece Homan was second in the ECC in passing yardage this season.

The Panthers’ secondary picked off three passes, highlighted by senior cornerback Alex Shutter’s interception and 20-yard return for a TD which gave his a team a 14-0 lead with 3:21 left in the first quarter. Novotny and Gavin Falk contributed one interception each.

“We played physical, we played hard and we dominated both lines of scrimmage, and those are the keys to winning football games at any level,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“One of our goals is to always be conference champions. I’m really proud of the guys coming through and being conference champions.

“We ran the ball hard and found some weak sports in their defense and capitalized on it. The line blocked well and Cody and Derek ran hard,” said Knaus.

“The defense did an outstanding job. They read their keys and dominated the line of scrimmage,” said the coach.

“We played well as a team right away,” said Kuhn.

“We knew we didn’t want to give them any life and we kept it [going]. The offensive line did a great job. I’m very proud of the team,” he said.

“We knew we had to come in and get it done and be the conference champions,” said PHS center Tyler Luedtke.

“We didn’t look past Waupun. It [ECC title] means a lot. I’m very proud of what the team has accomplished.”

Inside linebacker Joey Osieczanek and defensive lineman Derek Schweiger led PHS in total tackles with six each. Plymouth held running back Caleb Sauer, the ECC’s third-leading rusher, to only 55 yards on 14 carries.

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