Panthers come up short in playoff battle

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


GABE HAUN (79) and Derek Schweiger of Plymouth team up to sack Kewaskum quarterback Dalton Poole in Friday night’s football playoff game. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek GABE HAUN (79) and Derek Schweiger of Plymouth team up to sack Kewaskum quarterback Dalton Poole in Friday night’s football playoff game. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek KEWASKUM – The Plymouth Panthers battled Kewaskum right down to the wire before falling short, 14-6, in a Division 3 football second-round (Level 2) playoff game here Friday night.

After moving the ball 46 yards to the Indians’ 7-yard line in only 1:11, the Panthers were unable to score at the end of the game. Senior quarterback Gavin Falk, who completed four passes for 46 yards in the possession, tried to hit tailback Derek Novotny in the end zone from the 7 on first down but the pass was broken up with only 3.4 seconds left.

On the next play, Falk slightly overthrew wide receiver Cade Knaus who was open in the right side of the end zone and the clock expired. Falk completed back-toback passes to Novotny for 13 and 19 yards which sparked the final drive as it gave PHS the ball at the 7.


GAVIN FALK, Plymouth quarterback, finds running room against the Kewaskum defense during Friday night’s football playoff game. Blocking for PHS (left to right) are Trevor Horneck, Erik Ohman and Derek Novotny. Novotny is blocking Daniel Kreis. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek GAVIN FALK, Plymouth quarterback, finds running room against the Kewaskum defense during Friday night’s football playoff game. Blocking for PHS (left to right) are Trevor Horneck, Erik Ohman and Derek Novotny. Novotny is blocking Daniel Kreis. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek The Panthers’ drive came after their defense held on downs when Kewaskum came up inches short on a fourth-down quarterback sneak by Dalton Poole with 1:14 left. The Indians decided to go for the first down instead of punting because they probably wouldn’t have gained much field position by punting into a strong wind.

The Indians, a No. 2 region seed, improved to 10-1 and advance to the quarterfinals (Level 3) versus No. 1-seeded Waukesha Catholic Memorial Friday at 7 p.m. at Waukesha South.

Third-seeded PHS, which lost to Kewaskum, 10-7, in East Central Conference play three weeks ago, finished 8-3.

“It was a game similar to the first meeting. The team that made a few more plays won at the end of the night. It was a hard-fought defensive battle,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“I thought as a group we responded well in the second half and played with great emotion and intensity. We just came up a little short.”

The PHS defense, which was gashed for 186 rushing yards against Kewaskum in the first meeting, held the Indians to only 59 in the rematch.

“Both defenses played very well. Our defense was very stout against the run all night,” said Knaus.

The Indians grabbed a 7-0 lead on a 2-yard touchdown plunge by running back Patrick Krier and a PAT by Cade Peterson with 2:15 left in the first quarter. The TD capped off an eight-play, 77-yard drive.

The big play in the series was a 44-yard strike into the wind from Poole to wide receiver Brady Hanson on a fly pattern which put the ball at PHS 17. On third and 8 from the 15, Poole hit Hanson for 12 yards to the 3 which led to Krier’s score. Kewaskum led 7-0 at halftime.

The Panthers made it 7-6 with a 7-yard TD run by Falk at the 6:33 mark in the third quarter. Falk made a nice fake to Novotny and then scored on a keeper. The extra-point kick by Falk was low and no good.

Falk’s TD climaxed a seven-play, 62-yard drive which came after PHS linebacker Mackade Mella recovered a fumble at the PHS 45. The key play in the possession was a 38- yard pass from Falk to wideout Alex Shutter to the Indian 21.

Kewaskum answered with a TD on its next possession to go up 14-6 with 1:41 remaining in the third period. Pool rifled a 28-yard scoring pass to Hanson who got a step on the defender down the right sideline. Peterson’s extra point was good.

The Indians’ scoring drive covered 63 yards in 10 plays. A crucial play was Poole’s 13-yard pass to wide receiver Anthony Steger on third and 8 which gave Kewaskum a first down at the PHS 25.

The Panthers were unable to take advantage of good field position late in the game after a fake punt by Kewaskum failed. The Indians went for the first down rather than punt into the wind and Gabriel Christenson was tackled at the PHS 43, 8 yards shy of a first down with 3:46 left.

Three plays later, linebacker Christenson picked off a pass by Falk at the Kewaskum 44 with no return at the 2:18 mark.

“It was a battle tonight, just like the first game,” said Indian head coach Jason Piittmann.

“We were able to make a couple of big plays when we had to. That first score into the wind was big.

“I’m very proud of the kids. It’s very tough to beat a team twice [in the same season]. I knew it would be a big challenge,” said Piittmann.

Mella, Erik Ohman and Jack Nytes led the PHS defense in solo tackles with five each. Nytes had a team-high nine total tackles.

“We had a very successful season and accomplished many of our goals. The kids got better each week and played with great emotion each and every week,” said Knaus.

“A great group of seniors that will be missed. It’s always hard when it ends but hopefully these guys enjoyed every memory from the season.”


Most recent cover pages:













Poll
POLL: Do you think Elkhart Lake made the right decision in not allowing Strawberry the pot-bellied pig?:

Copyright 2009-2018 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505