Friday night provided Plymouth something it hasn’t had a lot of nights in the 2023 football season – an early lead.

Unfortunately, it didn’t hold up as South Bend Washington stormed back to lead at halftime and went on to win the 4A sectional quarterfinal, 43-28.

The Rockies (2-8) jumped out to a 14-0 first quarter lead only to see the Panthers rally with a 21-6 second quarter and a one-point lead at the halftime break.

South Bend Washington (3-7) pulled away by holding Plymouth to one fourth quarter touchdown.

Sophomore quarterback Grady Metsker was pressed into action the previous Friday night when junior starter Exzander Ramirez sustained a knee injury in the season finale at Concord. Starting in the sectional for Ramirez, Metsker posted solid numbers by passing 10-for-17, 201 yards and touchdown passes to Aiden Van Dusen and Max Lewandowski.

Metsker also ran for 46 yards on 10 carries.

Finn Holm rushed 24 times for Plymouth for 105 yards.

“I was proud of the way our kids never gave up. They fought til the very end. We have continued to build the foundation for this program moving forward. I’m thankful for this senior group and what they have done for us,” said head coach Adam Handley.

The Panthers will travel to NorthWood (8-2) for the sectional semifinal.