Panthers’ defense faces strong challenge

by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff


MASON GUELL, Plymouth wide receiver, makes a leaping catch for 36 yards as New Berlin West’s John Tsoris defends in Friday’s football playoff opener. On the next play Derek Novotny had an 11-yard touchdown run. Guell is the Panthers’ leading receiver this season. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke MASON GUELL, Plymouth wide receiver, makes a leaping catch for 36 yards as New Berlin West’s John Tsoris defends in Friday’s football playoff opener. On the next play Derek Novotny had an 11-yard touchdown run. Guell is the Panthers’ leading receiver this season. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers’ defense faces a stiff test when it takes on a high-powered Whitefish Bay offense in the second round (Level 2) of the Division 3 state football playoffs Friday night.

Kickoff for the game will be at 7 p.m. at Whitefish Bay. PHS, 7-3, is a No. 4 seed. The Blue Dukes, 9-1, are seeded No. 1.

“They are physical and well- coached on both sides of the ball. They run a pistol wing-T offense but can also line up in many different formations,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus whose team has won four in a row.

“They are a bit bigger then us and have good speed like we do. They will want to pass it a little more then we want to.


JOSH KOLL, Plymouth tailback, tries to break a tackle by a Campbellsport opponent in football action Oct. 13. Among the PHS blockers are Greg Werner (24) and Ethan Kurtz (80). Koll is the Panthers’ second-leading rusher this season. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke JOSH KOLL, Plymouth tailback, tries to break a tackle by a Campbellsport opponent in football action Oct. 13. Among the PHS blockers are Greg Werner (24) and Ethan Kurtz (80). Koll is the Panthers’ second-leading rusher this season. – Photo by Tyler Luedtke “They have a solid quarterback wide receiver connection with Cade Garcia [QB] and Alex Anthony [wideout]. On defense they have some good outside linebackers with good size – Tommy Brunner and Brady Weas,” Knaus pointed out.

Garcia, a 6-foot-1, 185-pound senior, had passed for an impressive 2,066 yards and 27 touchdowns this sea- son. He has also run for 288 yards.

Anthony, a 6-1, 185-pound senior, has had an outstanding season as a receiver with 56 catches for 991 yards and 11 TDs – all team-high statistics. He has a team-best 17.7-yard average per reception.

Knaus said it will be important for his team to control the line of scrimmage on offense and defense. If the Panthers can use their strong ground game to keep the Blue Dukes’ potent offense off the field as much as possible, that will be a key to Plymouth’s hopes for a win.

The coach said playing mistake-free football and winning the special-teams battle will also be keys for his team to win.

Both teams have high-scoring offenses – PHS averaging 36.0 points per game and Whitefish Bay at 36.7.

The Panthers’ running game is led by senior tailback Derek Novotny who has 1,456 yards and 22 TDs. Junior tailback Josh Koll has contributed 693 yards rushing and six TDs.

Senior quarterback Cade Knaus has thrown for 1,144 yards and 11 TDs. Senior wide receiver Mason Guell has 32 receptions for 411 yards and three TDs – all team-highs. Senior wideout Mackade Mella also has three TD catches.

The Panthers are a very confident team coming into the game.

“We are confident that we can play with anyone in our division and we have shown that all season. We feel as if we can play a clean game with few mistakes we can beat anyone in D-3,” said Knaus.

The Panthers are pretty healthy overall heading into the game.


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