LENA, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –The Lena-Winslow Panthers have defeated all 12 teams that they’ve faceD this season by 30 points or more. This week they don’t expect to have an easy time of it in the IHSA 1A semifinals against undefeated Annawan-Kewanee Wethersfield.
Wethersfield has already knocked one Northwest Upstate Illini Conference team out of the playoffs. That was Forreston two weeks ago in a 30-26 thriller. What Wethersfield showed that night was a dynamic, spread passing attack by the Titans led by quarterback Colton Quagliano.He had 408 yards passing and four touchdown passes.
“He’s a good athlete, great arm, very mobile…is a threat to run the ball as well as throw it, and he puts it on the money,” said Lena-Winslow coach Ric Arand of Quagliano.
How challenging will it be for the guys up front on Le-Win’s defensive line to put a little pressure on such a mobile quarterback?
“I think it’s going to be pretty challenging,” said defensive tackle Gennings Dunker. “He’s a fast kid. We’re pretty quick but we’re not crazy fast except for Brucey (Defensive end Isaiah Bruce).”
Quagliano is closing in on 3,000 yards passing this season. His main target Isaac Shaw had three long touchdown catches against Forreston, but he’s not the Titan’s only receiving threat.
“They’re not particular who they throw it to,” said Arand. He’s (Quagliano) going to throw it to the open guy and likes to get the ball to guys in space.”
Wethersfield’s defense is harder to get a handle on based on the last two weeks. Against Forreston it gave up 359 yards rushing. But last week it held Morrison to 13 points and 25 yards rushing, and the Wethersfield defense came through with a great goal line stand led by Iowa-bound middle linebacker Drake VanHyfte.
“They’re big up front and they put a lot of guys in the box,” said Arand.Although they did the same thing against Forreston, but I’m sure we’re gonig to see nine guys in the box all the time, and they creep their safeties up in there. So for us you’ve got to get a hat on a hat as we would call it. We have to be able to throw the ball play-action and mix things up a little bit.”
The Panthers have pounced on all three of their playoff opponents so far leading to a running clock in each game. That’s partly because of how talented the Panthers are and partly because they don’t overlook their opponents.
“I think we’re trying not to be overconfident,” said Dunker. “We’ve got to make sure our heads don’t get too big.
That’s a one o’clock kickoff Saturday at Wethersfield High School in Kewanee.