Panthers bounce back in a big way

Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


KODY HITSMAN (64) and Jack Nytes of Plymouth tackle Kettle Moraine Lutheran running back Jacob Byhardt for a loss in Friday’s ECC football game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke KODY HITSMAN (64) and Jack Nytes of Plymouth tackle Kettle Moraine Lutheran running back Jacob Byhardt for a loss in Friday’s ECC football game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers rebounded from a tough 28-21 loss a week earlier to Berlin with a 55-0 pummeling of Kettle Moraine Lutheran (Jackson) in an East Central Conference football game here Friday night.

PHS improved to 2-1 in the ECC (3-2 overall) and will gear up for a key battle at Kewaskum this Friday night. Kewaskum and Berlin are tied for the ECC lead at 3-0.

The Panthers dominated an undermanned KML team (0-3 in the ECC and 0-4 overall) from the start. The Chargers’ roster had only 18 players. PHS, fueled by a ground attack which piled up 322 yards and a swarming defense, outgained the Chargers by a whopping 347-19 in total offensive yardage.

Senior tailback Derek Novotny sparked the PHS ground attack with 158 yards and four touchdowns on only 15 carries.


JOSH KOLL, Plymouth tailback, finds running room against the Kettle Moraine Lutheran defense in Friday’s ECC football game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke JOSH KOLL, Plymouth tailback, finds running room against the Kettle Moraine Lutheran defense in Friday’s ECC football game. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke The PHS defense shut down the Chargers’ option game – holding KML to only 23 yards rushing on 24 attempts.

“We played a complete game. Our offense, defense and special teams were real solid,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“Our kids played hard. They played assignment-strong football and they did everything we asked them to do.

“Our focus coming in was to pound the ball with Derek and Josh [Koll] and keep the offensive line moving. The offensive line did a good job and got off the ball well.

“Our kids played sound, disciplined football [on defense] and that’s what you have to do against the option,” said Knaus.

Linebacker Jack Nytes and defensive end Kody Hitsman led PHS in solo tackles with five each. Nytes had a team-high eight total tackles.

PHS stormed to a 41-0 halftime lead – scoring TDs on all five of its possessions.

“I thought we ran the ball well. I give my offensive line a lot of credit,” said Novotny.

“On offense, we dominated. On defense, they only had a couple of plays where they got us on the outside,” said Hitsman.

“Defensively, we shut them down. It was a full team effort on defense,” said PHS defensive end Gabe Haun.

“Everywhere I looked people [on KML’s defense] were back pedaling and that’s the best thing,” said Nytes who also plays fullback and is primarily a blocker.

“They’re getting pushed back and that means we’re in control.”


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