Novotny runs wild, leads PHS to playoff win

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


DEREK NOVOTNY of Plymouth looks for running room against the New Berlin West defense in Friday’s football playoff opener. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke DEREK NOVOTNY of Plymouth looks for running room against the New Berlin West defense in Friday’s football playoff opener. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers’ ground attack, led by senior tailback Derek Novotny, keyed a 47-21 trouncing of New Berlin West in a Division 3 state football playoff opener (Level 1) Friday night at Finke Field.

Novotny, who took advantage of a dominant performance by his offensive line, racked up 258 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns – both career bests for a single game. His performance was highlighted by a spectacular 76-yard TD run in the second quarter in which he made several outstanding moves as he raced to the end zone, eluding many defenders.

“The line blocked amazing and Derek ran with great vision and balance,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

“Derek just ran so hard – he was very impressive. The line did a great job of dominating and the defensive line took the run away from them.”

“I thought we dominated the line of scrimmage which allowed our offense to be balanced and also made them one-dimensional.”

The No. 4-seeded Panthers improved to 7-3 and advanced to the second round (Level 2) Friday night at No. 1-seeded Whitefish Bay at 7 p.m. PHS has won four in a row. The No. 5-seeded NBW Vikings finished 6-4.

PHS built a 34-7 halftime lead, ignited by Novotny’s four TDs, all on the ground. The Panthers held the Vikings to only 6 yards rushing in the first half.

“We took away their running game which made them one dimensional. On film they hadn’t passed the ball very much, so we wanted to make them do something they didn’t want to do,” said Knaus.

“We played well. The [offensive] line was pretty solid overall,” said Panther senior right tackle Josh Klister.

“Derek was pretty amazing out there,” said Klister.

“I don’t want this to end anytime soon, so I did whatever I could to keep this moving,” said Novotny.

“They [offensive linemen] made holes and I was trying to run as hard as I can. I put my shoulders down at the end of runs, and make people miss when it comes [time]. I was happy with my performance.”

Sophomore defensive back Aiden Reilly had an interception for PHS.


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