Season Preview: Le-Win Panthers
The Lena-Winslow Panthers entered the 2019 season as the heavy favorite, and never left a doubt as they won every game by at least 2 scores and put on the running clock in 10 of their 14 games. The Panthers have shown that DeKalb is their second home, as they have won state 3 times in the 4 seasons that NIU has hosted the state championship game, winning in 2013, 2017, and 2019, respectively.
Coach Ric Arand eclipsed the 200 win mark in 2019 in the first round against Aurora Christian, joining Jerry Lano and John O'Boyle as the only coaches in NUIC history with over 200 career wins. His 204 career wins is second to O'Boyle in NUIC history. While the Panthers lose 2 of the best players the NUIC has ever seen, they continue to reload with plenty of talent to keep the Panther Express rolling. They will feature another D1 player, and return quite a few players on both sides of the ball at key positions. The Panthers are the favorite in the heavy loaded North Division for another year once again as they are getting used to wearing the bullseye.
The Panthers have put together a 43-22 record, winning 4 state titles over the past 10 seasons. The 43rd playoff win in Panther history was achieved in the state championship game. The playoff run moved Le-Win past Aquin in career playoff wins. The 43 wins put Le-Win at a level with former conference powers Stockton and Galena as the only schools with over 40 career playoff wins. The Panthers will begin the season on the road at Princeton. This game will feature the #1 ranked Class 1A team against the #2 ranked Class 3A team. This game will also feature former Panther player and Stockton head coach Jesse Snyder returning to Princeton as an assistant coach. Snyder was head coach of the Tigers in a perfect regular season in 2015 when the Tigers lost in the quarterfinals.
Lena-Winslow Playoff History
2010 5-0 Class 1A State Champion
2013 5-0 Class 1A State Champion
2017 5-0 Class 1A State Champion
2019 5-0 Class 1A State Champion