Panthers’ preseason off to positive start

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


DEREK NOVOTNY, senior tailback, looks for running room in Plymouth’s preseason football practice Friday morning. Novotny led the Panthers in rushing last season. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley DEREK NOVOTNY, senior tailback, looks for running room in Plymouth’s preseason football practice Friday morning. Novotny led the Panthers in rushing last season. — Review photo by Greg Ceilley PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers’ preseason football practice got under way Aug. 1 and their head coach Dan Knaus is pleased with what he has seen thus far.

“We had a good first week of practice. The players have a great work ethic and have been learning our base offense and defense,” said Knaus who enters his 11th season as the PHS head coach.

The Panthers began practicing in full pads Saturday as they prepare for Friday’s varsity and junior varsity scrimmages at UW-Oshkosh against Oshkosh North, Sheboygan North and Little Chute.

Knaus said the focus this past week was installing the base offense and defense, and focusing on the team’s base fundamentals. He is pleased with the Panthers’ progress so far.

“We like the way this team is shaping up, finding our strengths and using them the best,” said the coach.

“We had a good intra-squad scrimmage [Saturday] with some good competition and hitting.”

The Panthers came into the preseason camp in good shape, physically.

“We had good participation in our summer strength and speed program, so the players have come into the season in good condition,” Knaus noted.

The coach pointed out what the focus will be in practice this week:

“Starting to game plan for our first few weeks’ opponents and continuing to focus on fundamentals and team chemistry.”

The Panthers shared the East Central Conference title last season with Kewaskum and Berlin at 6-1. PHS finished 8-3 overall and qualified for the Division 3 state playoffs. The Panthers routed Greendale, 31- 7, in the first round and lost to Kewaskum, 14-6, in the second round.

PHS has two All-ECC players returning in seniors Mack Mella and Derek Novotny. Mella was named to the first-team defense at outside linebacker. Novotny was on the second team at both defensive back and on offense at running back. Novotny was the Panthers’ leading rusher last year.

The varsity and JV scrimmages will be held at UW-Oshkosh’s Titan Stadium, starting at 9 a.m.

PHS will host New Berlin Eisenhower in the varsity season opener Aug. 18 at 7 p.m. in nonconference action. The game will air live on 1420AM The Breeze (WJUB) and Plymouth Community TV Channel 14.


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