Panthers’ off-season work should pay off

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


GABE HAUN (79) of Plymouth, pictured assisting on a sack of Kewaskum quarterback Dalton Poole last year, will play a key role for the Panthers at defensive end this season. Helping on the sack is Derek Schweiger who is now a member of the Iowa State University football team. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek GABE HAUN (79) of Plymouth, pictured assisting on a sack of Kewaskum quarterback Dalton Poole last year, will play a key role for the Panthers at defensive end this season. Helping on the sack is Derek Schweiger who is now a member of the Iowa State University football team. – Photo by Clare Sedlacek PLYMOUTH – Dan Knaus, the Plymouth head football coach, is very upbeat about the Panthers this season.

“Like every new season we are excited to see what this new group can accomplish. We are optimistic that this group has worked hard enough in the off-season to have a successful season,” said Knaus who’s in his 11th season as Plymouth’s head coach.

The Panthers lost several starters, including five All-East Central Conference first-team players, off last year’s ECC championship squad but there’s still plenty of talent to build around this season. PHS returns 20 letter winners, including six starters, from a team which finished 6-1 in the ECC and 8-3 overall last season. The Panthers were a state playoff qualifier for the 15th year in a row.

DEREK NOVOTNY will be the key running back for the Plymouth football team this season. – Review file photo PHS participated in a four team scrimmage Friday at UWOshkosh’s Titan Stadium against Sheboygan North, Little Chute and Oshkosh North. “We had a very good scrimmage. We threw the ball and ran the ball well. We didn’t see the stiffest competition, so we will need to work on playing against big physical teams moving forward,” observed the coach. The Panthers open their season Friday at home versus New Berlin Eisenhower in non-conference play at 7 p.m. PHS defeated the Lions in last year’s opener, 34-28.DEREK NOVOTNY will be the key running back for the Plymouth football team this season. – Review file photo PHS participated in a four team scrimmage Friday at UWOshkosh’s Titan Stadium against Sheboygan North, Little Chute and Oshkosh North. “We had a very good scrimmage. We threw the ball and ran the ball well. We didn’t see the stiffest competition, so we will need to work on playing against big physical teams moving forward,” observed the coach. The Panthers open their season Friday at home versus New Berlin Eisenhower in non-conference play at 7 p.m. PHS defeated the Lions in last year’s opener, 34-28.
PHS returns two All-ECC players from last year in senior wide receiver/outside linebacker Mackade Mella, a first-team pick on defense, and senior running back/defensive back Derek Novotny who earned second-team honors on offense and defense. Mella was second on the Panther team in total tackles with 76 and solos, 38, in 2016.

Novotny led PHS in rushing with 847 yards and was second in receptions with 21 last year. He was second in interception with four.

The Panthers’ returning starters include: Novotny at running back and safety; Mella, outside linebacker; senior Josh Klister, offensive tackle; senior Gabe Haun, defensive end; junior Jack Nytes, inside linebacker; and senior Mason Guell at cornerback.

Knaus pointed out the team’s strengths and weaknesses.

“We have good team speed and athleticism on the perimeter. We have good senior leadership,” he said.

“We have a lot of new starters and are lacking some depth at certain positions. We only have 3-4 starters back on both sides of the ball.”

The veteran coach pointed out the keys for the Panthers to have success: “Stay healthy and play fast smart and physical. We have to play for each other with one goal in mind to be successful.”

Knaus mentioned the key players he expects to lead the squad.

“Derek Novotny will be our featured back and is very explosive,” the coach pointed out.

“Mason Guell Mackade Mella and Brandon Keller will provide us with good size and speed at the receiver positions. Jack Nytes will be our lead blocker from the fullback position.”

Senior Cade Knaus (coach Knaus’s son) takes over at quarterback for Gavin Falk who was an All-ECC second-team choice last year as a senior.

“Cade has good knowledge of the offense and understands the concepts very well. He has thrown the ball well in camp,” said the coach.

Coach Knaus pointed out newcomers who have impressed him.

“Josh Koll [junior] will provide another running back with good running ability and he will compete at outside linebacker. Holden Reilly [senior] at safety is big and fast and hopefully will play at a physical level. Korey Friederichs [senior] at guard has good size and knows the offense,” said the coach.

He is pleased with the offense and defense going into the season.

“I like the way our offense is progressing. We will need to be balanced with a good running and passing game,” the coach noted.

“Our defense is playing fast and aggressive. We have a few new looks in this year that will hopefully give us some flexibility on defense.”

Looking at the ECC race, the coach expects PHS, Kewaskum and Berlin to again be the top contenders for the title. The three teams shared the crown last year.

Coach Knaus stated his top goals for the season: “Play well in the two nonconference games, win the conference championship and make a deep playoff run.”

Last season, PHS routed Greendale in the first round of the Division 3 playoffs, 31-7, and then lost to Kewaskum, 14-6, in the second round.

“Mason Guell Mackade Mella and Brandon Keller will provide us with good size and speed at the receiver positions. Jack Nytes will be our lead blocker from the fullback position.”

Senior Cade Knaus (coach Knaus’s son) takes over at quarterback for Gavin Falk who was an All-ECC second-team choice last year as a senior.

“Cade has good knowledge of the offense and understands the concepts very well. He has thrown the ball well in camp,” said the coach.

Coach Knaus pointed out newcomers who have impressed him.

“Josh Koll [junior] will provide another running back with good running ability and he will compete at outside linebacker. Holden Reilly [senior] at safety is big and fast and hopefully will play at a physical level. Korey Friederichs [senior] at guard has good size and knows the offense,” said the coach.

PLYMOUTH FOOTBALL
SCHEDULE
Varsity
Aug. 18 – N. Berlin Eisenhower, here
Aug. 25 – @ Sheboygan Falls
Sept. 1 – Waupun, here
Sept. 8 – @ Berlin
Sept. 15 – Kettle Moraine Luth., here
Sept. 22 – @ Kewaskum
Sept. 29 – Ripon, here
Oct. 6 – @ Winneconne
Oct. 13 – Campbellsport, here

PLYMOUTH VARSITY
FOOTBALL ROSTER
Name Gr. Wt. Pos.
Holden Reilly 12 200 SE-DB
Cade Knaus 12 170 QB-DB
Brandon Keller 12 200 SE-LB
Mackade Mella 12 180 SE-LB
Derek Novotny 12 175 RB-DB
Taylor Struve 12 160 RB-LB
Cory Haupt 12 160 RB-LB
Kody Hitsman 12 210 OL-DL
Bryce Ladwig 12 310 OL-DL
Zach Kraus 12 250 OL-DL
Korey Friederichs 12 235 OL-DL
Josh Klister 12 255 OL-DL
Gabe Haun 12 235 OL-DL
Kory Tetschlag 12 175 SE-DB
Mason Guell 12 175 SE-DB
Ben Meyer 11 170 SE-DB
Joe Steinhardt 11 170 QB-LB
Josh Koll 11 170 RB-LB
Greg Werner 11 205 RB-LB
Deshaun Nichols 11 170 SE-DB
Jack Nytes 11 215 TE-LB
Walker Salidini 11 195 OL-DL
Michael Troka 11 205 OL-LB

Dawson Smith 11 200 OL-DL
Alex Little 11 225 OL-DL
Cole Meyer 11 265 OL-DL
Ethan Kurtz 11 150 SE-DB
Brady Albers 11 165 TE-LB
Sam Shutter 10 165 SE-DB
Cooper Gosse 10 170 SE-DB
Calen Hughes 10 165 SE-LB
Cole Booth 10 160 QB-DB
Aiden Reilly 10 165 SE-DB
Isaiah Torrison 10 150 RB-LB
Mason Hellmer 10 165 FB-LB
Jack Miller 10 110 SE-DB
Jake Honeck 10 150 SE-DB
Carter Lawrence 10 155 TE-DB
Ethan Joseph 10 130 RB-DB
Mark Nehring 10 135 RB-DB
Treyden Gonzalez 10 155 TE-LB
Ryan Frederickson 10 160 OL-LB
Mike Zipperer 10 215 OL-DL
Liam Loehr 10 155 OL-LB
Matt Timm 10 260 OL-DL
Tate Back 10 310 OL-DL
Isaac Kraus 10 185 OL-DL
Chance Miller 10 165 OL-DL
Jon Thome 10 145 SE-DB
Josh Coley 10 175 TE-DL
Ben Olsen 10 210 TE-LB
Chase Jasinski 10 170 SE-DB
Jack Luedtke 9 140 QB-DB
Evan Ladwig 9 230 OL-DL
Alonzo Spindler 9 25 OL-DL


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