Le-Win Panthers elevate their game in the playoffs; ready for semifinals

High School Sports

LENA, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –It’s critical in any sport for a team to be peaking at the right time. The Lena-Winslow football team seems to be doing just that.

The Panthers were strong during the regular season, but they’ve been simply amazing the first through rounds of the playoffs. They’ve outscored Aurora Christian, Forreston and Fulton by an average score of 49-14. Coach Ric Arand says the Panthers have set the bar high, and they have the senior leadership to try to reach it.

“We’ve been pretty tough on them (the seniors). I don’t think we’ve been tougher on a group in terms of practice expectations in the playoffs then we have this group, and they’ve really responded the first three weeks of the playoffs. Here we sit.”

“We’re in a good rhythm right now obviously.said senior running back Marey Roby. “We beat two good teams before these guys, three good teams. We’ve just got to keep the momentum going.”

“Each game we’re buildling on getting better, just improving and feeling that rhythm.
said senior quarterback Luke Benson. “We’ve just got to focus on Colfax. We know they’re a solid team, so we’ve got to bring it.”

The Colfax Co-op of Ridgeview-Lexington is on deck for the Panhers this Saturday in the 1A semifinals. The Mustangs are champions of the Heart of Illinois Small Conference. They’ve also blown out their three playoff opponents Rushville, Peru St. Bede and Abingdon-Avon.

The Mustangs have an All-State running bck in Kaden Farrell, and All-State linebacker in Evan Antonio, and the Mustangs have beef on the lines.

“They’re going to resemble a bigger version, a larger version up front of Fulton,” said Arand. “They’re going to try to do a lot of things on offense, a lot of formations. They’ve got one really, really good running back who is the only junior on the All-State team. We definitely have our work cut our for us, but it’s something that we’re going to embrace.”

That game will be a 2 p.m. kickoff Saturday in Lena.

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