Round 3 | Le-Win vs Aquin Preview

November 9, 2017

Freeport -

 

There is a lot of history when you talk about Lena-Winslow and Aquin. You can first look at state titles, as these two teams combine for 5 of the 18 state titles that the NUIC has won in its history. You can look at their playoff success overall, as both schools boast 30 plus wins in the playoffs in history, and both have double digit appearances in the state quarterfinals. Their history has crossed paths, as they were both original members of the NWIC, but were separated in 1996 with the merge of the Upstate Illini Conference, and when the conference was realigned and named the NUIC in 2001, the Bulldogs and Panthers remained in separate divisions. Despite all the history these two storied programs have, they have only met once in the playoffs, and that came in the 2nd round of the 2013 season when the Panthers steamrolled the Bulldogs 48-20 on their way to their 2nd state title in 4 seasons. Both teams are making their 2nd straight quarterfinal appearances, and this time they get to meet up for the chance to continue playing for a chance to make a trip to DeKalb.

 

The Lena-Winslow Panthers were seen as a state title contender in 2017 by myself prior to the 2016 season beginning. With an opening game win in week 1, they had their chance to prove that in week 2 with a trip to defending state champion Forreston, where the Panthers dominated the first half with the Cardinals, but dug down in the 2nd half to take the lead and the win in the 4th quarter 28-14. Since that time, the Panthers have been the #1 ranked team in state, and justifiably so, as they have not encountered a team since then who has come close to challenging them as they have bulldozed their way to an 11-0 mark. Le-Win is making their 10th trip to the quarters, and their 7th trip in the last 9 seasons. The Panthers are 3-6 in quarterfinal match-ups, and haven't won a quarterfinal game since their 2013 state title campaign.

 

The Aquin Bulldogs entered the 2017 season as the preseason favorite for the Upstate Title. And how could one argue, they were returning all of their key offensive weapons coming off a 10-2 record and a quarterfinal appearance the year before. The Dawgs came into the season ranked #12, and climbed to the #10 spot after week 1, retaining that ranking for 2 weeks before sliding back out. A week 5 match-up with #3 ranked Forreston was a tough challenge for Aquin, but would also help show them where they were on the season. After a 50-19 loss, the Dawgs went back to work, but a week 8 showdown with defending conference champion and rival Stockton loomed once again, making the story line repeat from the year before. And like the year before the Dawgs would fall 16-14. Aquin has prevailed with very close games in both rounds of the playoffs, so they are battle tested. The Bulldogs are making their 12th trip to the quarterfinals, and their 3rd trip in the last 7 seasons. Aquin is 6-5 in quarterfinal games, but their last win came in 2011 with a 21-0 win over Peru St. Bede.

 

Lena-Winslow Panthers 11-0

Conference: NUIC Northwest

State Titles: 2010, 2013

Playoff Record: 32-21

Trips to Playoffs: 24

Consecutive: 19

Points/Game For: 47

Points/Game Against: 10

How They Got Here:

1st Round: Won 55-20 Stark County

2nd Round: Won 49-16 Milledgeville

 

Aquin Bulldogs 9-2

Conference: NUIC Upstate

State Titles: 1981, 1986, 2005

Playoff Record: 37-22

Trips to Playoffs: 26

Consecutive: 2

Points/Game For: 29

Points/Game Against: 15

How They Got Here:

1st Round: Won 30-27 Fisher

2nd Round: Won 21-14 Stockton

 

Predictions:

Calpreps: Le-Win 42 Aquin 19

Massey: Le-Win 42 Aquin 14

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