Panthers steamroll into state playoffs

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


JACK NYTES, Plymouth fullback, catches a pass from quarterback Cade Knaus in Friday’s ECC football game versus Campbellsport. PHS won, 42-6. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke JACK NYTES, Plymouth fullback, catches a pass from quarterback Cade Knaus in Friday’s ECC football game versus Campbellsport. PHS won, 42-6. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers are riding high going into the state football playoffs and will be looking to keep their momentum going.

PHS will host the New Berlin West Vikings in a Division 3 first-round game Friday at 7 p.m. at Finke Field. The No. 4-seeded Panthers, 6-3, have a three-game winning streak and have outscored the opposition by an average of 42-4 per game during this span.

“I believe we are playing our best football of the season and I am confident the team will play well,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

PHS finished third in the East Central Conference with a 5-2 record.

The No. 5-seeded Vikings, 6-3, finished fourth in the Woodland West Conference. New Berlin Eisenhower, which edged PHS, 28-27, in season-opening play, won the Woodland West with an 8-0 record. NBE routed the Vikings, 35-0.

“I think both teams are very similar in size and speed,” said coach Knaus in observing how his team and NBW match up.

“They have a very good running quarterback [senior Joseph Robey] and use him as another running back. They line up in different spread formations. They are predominantly a running team.”

Robey, 6-feet, 185 pounds, is the Vikings’ top rusher with 895 yards (7.9 average per carry) and a team-high 11 rushing touchdowns. He has passed for 548 yards (in seven games) and four TDs.

“Their QB is a very physical and shifty runner,” coach Knaus pointed out.

Viking junior wide receiver Tyler Stoltenburg leads his team in receptions with 29 and yards receiving at 317.

The Panthers’ strong running game is spearheaded by senior tailback Derek Novotny who is having an outstanding season with 1,198 yards (7.5 average per carry) and 17 TDs. Junior tailback Josh Koll gives PHS an excellent 1-2 punch on the ground as he has run for 631 yards (7.3 average) and six TDs.

PHS senior quarterback Cade Knaus has thrown for 1,050 yards and 11 TDs. Senior wide receiver Mason Guell has a team-high 27 catches and 327 yards. Guell and senior wideout Mackade Mella lead in TD receptions with three each.

Coach Knaus pointed out the keys for the Panthers to emerge victorious:

“Control the line of scrimmage, take care of the football and play good special teams,” he said.

The coach said the team is healthy except for two players who were lost to injuries earlier in the season.


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