PLYMOUTH – The Plymouth Panthers defeated the Kewaskum Indians 31-12 in a battle of the unbeatens in Friday night’s East Central Conference football matchup at Finke Field.
Both teams entered the contest 3-0, with the Panthers outscoring their opponents 98-8 in their first three games.
“We knew coming in that this would be a big test for us. We focused on that all week, that we shouldn’t be overconfident. We really haven’t proven ourselves against any team that has a winning record, so we needed to stay locked in,” said Plymouth Head Coach Dan Knaus.
The Panthers passed the test with flying colors on Military Appreciation Night in Plymouth.
For the fourth game in a row, the Panther defense set the tone. An interception and 52-yard return by safety Dominic Riederer set up a 9-yard touchdown run by quarterback Kellan Mella to give Plymouth a 10-0 first quarter lead.
Sophomore linebacker Marco Troka added a 58-yard interception return for a touchdown to extend the Panther lead to 17-0 early in the second quarter.
The offense opened the second half with a seven minute, 86-yard drive that ended with a Mella 1-yard touchdown run to put the Panthers up 24-0. Running back Ian Struve led the Panthers with runs of 17, 19 and 20 yards on the drive.
The speedy Struve showed off his skills on the defensive end on Kewaskum’s next drive with a 68-yard interception return for a touchdown, the Panthers’ second pick-six of the game and fifth of the season.
“We knew he’s an explosive kid, a track kid that took fifth in the state in the 100 last year. We expect big things from him the rest of the year,” said Knaus of Struve.
With Plymouth up 31-0, the Indians finally got on the board with a 62-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Cook to running back Maxwell Melzer, who had a strong performance in a losing cause.
Kewaskum added a score in the fourth quarter, as Cook hit Miles Surprenant with a 5-yard touchdown in the corner of the end zone to make the final score 31-12.
The 4-0 Panthers travel to Jackson to face Kettle Moraine Lutheran (2-2) next Friday, Sept. 17.