Panthers face Kewaskum in crucial ECC battle

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


DEREK NOVOTNY, Plymouth tailback in action against New Berlin Eisenhower in the football season opener, is the Panthers’ top rusher with 606 yards. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke DEREK NOVOTNY, Plymouth tailback in action against New Berlin Eisenhower in the football season opener, is the Panthers’ top rusher with 606 yards. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers and the Kewaskum Indians renew their football rivalry Friday night, with a lot at stake in the East Central Conference race.

Kewaskum is tied for the the ECC lead with Berlin at 3-0, followed by PHS and Winneconne at 2-1 apiece. It’s a very crucial game for the Panthers who can ill afford a loss which would put them two games behind Kewaskum and possibly Berlin with only three ECC games left for each team.

Kewaskum, 5-0 overall, needs a win over PHS (3-2 overall) to keep at least a share of the league lead. Berlin, which plays Kewaskum Oct. 6, owns a 28-21 win over Plymouth. PHS, Kewaskum and Berlin shared the ECC title last year.

The PHS-Kewaskum game will kick off at 7 p.m. at Kewaskum.

PHS head coach Dan Knaus gave his thoughts on how the teams match up and the Kewaskum team.

“They are a bit bigger up front and we run similar schemes. They have a very explosive quarterback [senior Tony Steger] that gives them a third running back in the backfield,” said Knaus.

Steger is the the Indians’ leading rusher on the season with 623 yards (8.9 average per carry).

Knaus and Indian head coach Jason Piittmann pointed out what they think will be the keys to the outcome.

“Take care of the football, control the line of scrimmage and contain their QB when he runs the ball,” said Knaus. “Special teams always plays an important part in the outcome of big games as well.”

“Turnovers and big plays either way,” said Piittmann.

The PHS coach noted what will be crucial for his team to win:

“Long, sustained drives that keeps their defense on the field and tires them out, and contain their big plays,” said Knaus.

“Field position will be big. Turnovers, as always, and big plays,” said Piittmann about what is crucial for his team to win.

“I think we seem pretty evenly matched. They are a good team – fundamentally sound as expected, good speed and good athletes.

“It looks like it should be another good match-up between the two programs,” said Piittmann.

Both coaches said their respective teams are improving each week and are healthy coming into the game.

Both teams have strong ground attacks. The Panthers are led by senior tailback Derek Novotny with 606 yards rushing (7.4 average per carry) this season, followed by junior tailback Josh Koll with 351. Novotny has rushed for a team-high nine touchdowns.

The Indians’ second-leading rusher is senior running back Patrick Krier with 527 yards. Steger has a team-high eight rushing TDs.

PHS senior QB Cade Knaus has passed for 712 yards and five TDs. Senior wide receiver Mason Guell has a team-high 17 receptions and 202 yards.

Steger has thrown for 496 yards and five TDs. Krier has a team-leading 12 receptions. Senior wideout Gabe Christenson leads in receiving yardage with 161 on only six catches for a whopping 26.8 average per reception.


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