State-bound Le-Win Panthers set for feast at ‘Thanksgiving in DeKalb’

High School Football

LENA, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — In Class 1A there is nothing more synonymous with ‘State Championship Game’ than the ‘Lena-Winslow Panthers.’

The tradition of excellence continues this year as the Panthers knocked off Ridgeview Lexington in the State Semifinals 28-12 on Saturday afternoon.

The Panthers will try and defend their State title, after there was no State tournament in football due to Covid. There are a few current seniors who were starters on that State Champion team back in 2019, particularly running back Marey Roby and Quarterback Luke Benson.

After their victory Saturday, both said they were overjoyed to be back in the final game of the season.

“Amazing. It’s a dream come true,” said Roby. “Thanksgiving in DeKalb, couldn’t ask for anything else.”

Benson added that they had to battle in the semifinal game after struggling early.

“Yeah this one is special,” said Benson. “We grinded really hard, going into halftime it was a really close game but we just kept going and it feels really good.”

Le-Win head coach Ric Arand seconded Benson’s point, but said he couldn’t be happier for his team to be back with an opportunity to add another title to their mantle.

“Our kids played their butts off. We made a lot of mistakes, but in the end we persevered and we’re going to a State championship game.”

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