Mella named ECC’s top defensive player

Six Panthers named All-ECC first team
by Greg Ceilley
of The Review staff

CADE KNAUS CADE KNAUS Senior outside linebacker Mackade Mella of Plymouth was voted the East Central Conference’s Co-Defensive Player of the Year and Co- Linebacker of the Year for the 2017 football season.

Mella is a unanimous All- ECC first-team linebacker in voting by the league coaches. He also earned first-team honors in 2016 at outside linebacker.

PHS senior tailback Derek Novotny was selected the ECC’s Offensive Back of the Year. Novotny, a unanimous first-team running back, was a second-team back in 2016.

Senior inside linebacker Patrick Krier of Kewaskum shared the Defensive Player of the Year and Linebacker of the Year awards with Mella. Krier is a first-team choice.

The PHS Panthers’ Jack Nytes, a senior, is on the firstteam offense and defense at tight end/fullback and inside linebacker, respectively. Also named first team for PHS were senior offensive lineman Josh Klister (unanimous), senior quarterback Cade Knaus and senior defensive end Gabe Haun.

JACK NYTES JACK NYTES The Panthers’ second-team players include: offense – senior linemen Korey Friederichs and Kody Hitsman and junior running back Josh Koll; and defense – Hitsman at interior lineman and sophomore back Aiden Reilly.

Earning honorable mention for PHS is senior Mason Guell on offense at wide receiver and at defensive back.

Mella recorded 50 total tackles which included 37 solos and 13 assists in ECC action. He had eight tackles for losses, four quarterback sacks, two fumble recoveries and five forced fumbles.

Mella returned one fumble for a touchdown, had two interceptions and one blocked punt.

“Mack had an outstanding year. He filled the stat sheet up throughout the year. He really played all over the field on defense,” said Panther head coach Dan Knaus.

MACKADE MELLA MACKADE MELLA “The other coaches noticed his outstanding play and named him Co-Defensive Player of the Year which was a great honor.”

Novotny led the ECC in rushing with 989 yards for an impressive 7.8 average per carry. The speedy running back scored a league-high 16 TDs (all rushing) and led the ECC in scoring with 96 points.

“Derek had an outstanding year. He is a very explosive player that could go the distance at anytime,” coach Knaus observed.

“Jack was our only twoway first-team all-conference performer. He plays very physical at both fullback and linebacker, and is a great lead blocker and hole-stuffing middle linebacker.”

Nytes ranked fifth in the ECC in total tackles with 58 (33 solos and 25 assists). He contributed eight TFLs, two sacks, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble.

“Josh was one of our leaders on the offensive line and a two- year starter. He really played well for us this past season,” said coach Knaus.

GABE HAUN GABE HAUN “Gabe was very dominating at his defensive end position. Gabe plays with a great motor and caused a lot of disruption for our opponents.”

Haun garnered 48 total tackles (31 solos and 17 assists), including 10 TFLs. He had one fumble recovery.

Knaus led the ECC in completion percentage for regular starters with 55.7 (64-for- 115). His 743 passing yards ranked No. 3 and his seven TD passes tied for third.

“Cade played very solid at QB. He was like a coach on the field and made good decisions on the field,” coach Knaus pointed out.

Koll was fifth in ECC rushing with 500 yards. Guell ranked sixth in receptions with 20 for 244 yards.

The other All-ECC firstteam repeater is Kewaskum senior Tony Steger who was named to the athlete/utility position on offense. Steger played quarterback and wide receiver.

DEREK NOVOTNY DEREK NOVOTNY Steger, a first-team wideout as a junior, was voted the league’s Offensive Player of the Year.

In addition to Nytes, the other ECC players who were voted to the first-team offense and defense included: Berlin senior Chris Werch at wide receiver and defensive back; Kewaskum senior Riley Donovan, offensive line and interior defensive line; and Berlin senior Trevor Hendrickson, running back and defensive back.

The ECC’s other major award-winners included: Winneconne junior Marshall Scheider, Receiver of the Year; Donovan, Offensive and Defensive Lineman of the Year; Werch, Defensive Back of the Year; and head coach Jason Piittmann of Kewaskum, the Coach of the Year. Piittmann guided the Indians to the ECC title with a 7-0 record.

The ECC statistics for league play and the overall season are available at


Most recent cover pages:

With Giannis Antetokounmpo in the NBA All-Star Game Sunday ...:

Copyright 2009-2019 The Plymouth Review, All Rights Reserved

Contact Information

113 E. Mill St., Plymouth WI 53073
Local: 920-893-6411 Toll Free: 1-877-467-6591
Fax: 920-893-5505