Once Aurora Christian lost to Sterling Newman last year in the Class 2A playoffs, the focus immediately shifted to the Eagles dropping into the Class 1A playoffs. Once the brackets came out, you could write in the quarterfinal match-up of Aurora Christian vs Le-Win. Now it was time for the game to actually take place, as Aurora Christian is typically a Class 3A team, and Le-Win coming in as the defending state champion.
Both teams would exchange punts on their first drive, but then the Le-Win defense would take advantage, as they disrupted the offensive line to put QB Ethan Hampton on the run, and in the process forced a fumble that the Panther defense would recover at the Eagles 24 yard line. A few plays later saw Isaiah Bruce go off left tackle and find the endzone on a 13 yard TD run. The 2 point pass from Cade Benson to Parker Magee was good, as Le-Win took an early 8-0 lead with 5:18 left in the 1st.
On the ensuing kickoff, Eagles kick returner Trey Madsen would return the kick 85 yards for the score. He would also add the PAT kick to close the gap to an 8-7 lead in favor of Le-Win.
The Panthers would go right back to work, as they chewed up almost 4 minutes off the clock as they drove 56 yards, capped off by a 17 yard off left tackle once again, this time by Sean Ormiston. This time Magee would kick the PAT, and give Le-Win a 15-7 lead as the 1st quarter came to a close.
After a quick 3 and out, Le-Win would take control right away at the start of the 2nd quarter. The Panthers would march into Eagles territory again, and 3 and a half minutes later Bruce was punching it again from 4 yards out. Once again the Magee kick was good, and Le-Win was up 22-7 with just over 8 minutes until half.
On the Eagles ensuing drive, Hampton hit Madsen on a big 53 yard pass play setting them up at the Panther 17 yard line. On the very next play, Hampton hit Madsen on a post route for the 17 yard touchdown pass. Madsen would add the PAT for a 22-14 Le-Win lead.
On the Panthers next drive, it didn't take long for the Panthers to get across midfield. As soon as they did, Sean Ormiston ripped off a 44 yard run, stiff arming his way past one defender on the right sideline, and then barreling through the next as he dove emphatically into the endzone. With the Magee kick, Le-Win would go up 29-14, a lead they carried into the half.
Once the 3rd quarter began, it was all Le-Win, as they found the weakness in the Eagles defense, as the Panthers continued to run off left tackle, then later changed it to running off right tackle, as Cade Benson, Keegan Gyland, and Ronny Valentine added touchdown runs and the clock began running as the Panthers pounded their way to a 57-14 quarterfinal win.
On the day, the Panthers ran for 425 yards, as Sean Ormiston had 26 carries for 173 yards and 2 TD, followed by Keegan Gyland with 8 carries for 123 yards and 2 TD, and the Isaiah Bruce added 117 yards rushing on 15 carries with 2 TD. Cade Benson would go 1 for 1 passing for 14 yards, connecting with Parker Magee on his only pass attempt of the day.
The Panther defense was just as impressive as they held the Eagles to -22 yards rushing on the day on 11 carries. Ethan Hampton was 21-46 passing for 247 yards with 1 TD and 3 INT on the day. His main target was Trey Madsen who finished the day with 167 yards receiving on 9 receptions with 1 TD. Caleb Beebe was held to 64 yards receiving on 6 receptions.
The Panthers move onto the semifinals, where they will face Forreston for the 2nd consecutive year. It is also the 3rd consecutive year these two will meet in the playoffs. Le-Win holds a 4-1 record over Forreston in the playoffs. Forreston advanced with a 22-20 win over Dakota in the other quarterfinal game.