By Dan Truttschel

Sports Correspondent

For the better part of three weeks, the Wilmot football coaching staff has been installing a new offense and defense in preparation for the 2013 campaign.

The unveiling finally came Friday night – and while there were some mixed results, in the end, the Panthers came away with a hard-fought win.

And that’s really all that mattered.

Wilmot scored all 13 of its points in the second half, both from junior Bryce Kothe, while the defense pitched a shutout, in a 13-0 non-conference victory over visiting New Berlin Eisenhower.

“It was a pretty good effort,” Wilmot coach Mike Greinke said. “Our defense had an outstanding night (with three forced turnovers).

“We had two teams that had a lot of youth and inexperience, but we also had a lot of talent on the field. The effort level was similar. What it came down to was the turnover battle.”

Eisenhower, which had just 78 yards passing and 52 yards on the ground, seemed to deviate from its game plan a bit, Greinke said.

And that played right into the Panthers’ waiting arms.

“I think they got impatient,” he said. “They had a couple big runs. It could have been a different story, but they decided to try to air it out.

“Our secondary had an outstanding night. I don’t think there was an open receiver.”

Wilmot broke the scoreless tie in the third quarter when Kothe took an option pitch from senior quarterback Mike Lindeman and raced 26 yards to paydirt. Zach Dodge added the extra point to give the Panthers all the points they would need.

“Bryce had a monster game,” Greinke said. “We saw the talent that he has. It bodes well for the season.”

Kothe’s touchdown was aided in a big way by a crushing block by junior receiver Sam Thurow, who sprung his teammate to the end zone.

“I thought that was a pretty good block,” Greinke said.

Kothe iced the win the fourth quarter, when he picked off a pass and returned it the distance for a 52-yard touchdown. The extra-point attempt failed, but with the way the Panthers’ defense was playing, the 13 points were more than enough.

“(Kothe) has some surprising shiftiness to him,” Greinke said. “When he was running fullback, I saw that, too. It’s hard to take him off the field.”

Another positive came from the play of junior Brennan Frisby, who was inserted into the lineup at tight end after halftime.

Frisby’s hard-nosed blocking helped get the Panthers’ offense back on track, Greinke said.

“Brennan Frisby had a great night blocking,” he said. “We need more of that. He’s another guy who is going to be essential on the field in our blocking and running scheme.”

The new-look option offense wasn’t always smooth, however, as the Panthers finished the night with 155 yards rushing and 27 through the air.

That part of Wilmot’s attack will continue to be a work in progress, Greinke said.

“I feel like we took a little bit of a step backward from the scrimmage,” he said. “I thought we attacked a little bit more (the week before). We were a little tentative.”

 

Tough task ahead

Wilmot takes to the road Friday night when it travels to Oak Creek for a 7 p.m. non-conference contest with the Knights.

Oak Creek, ranked in the top 10 in Division 1 at the start of the season, fell 16-10 last week to Menomonee Falls.

 

 
 

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