Week 4: Le-Win vs East Dubuque
Lena-Winslow flexes it muscles in the 3rd quarter to cruise to a 52-0 win over the Warriors.
Lena - When the new state rankings came out this week it featured the Lena-Winslow Panthers at #1. This comes as no surprise to the large following in the northwest corner of the state, but it was surprising they didn't start at #1 considering the past 2 seasons they have had only resulted in 1 loss; to Class 3A Princeton this past spring.
The East Dubuque Warriors opened the season ranked #21 in state, and when you look at their schedule they have stayed competitive against state ranked opponents despite the 1-2 record they entered with Friday night. The Warriors also featured HC Joe Elder making his first appearance at his alma mater, which for football fans put some meaning behind the game as well.
Early on both teams struggled to get things going, chewing up about 6:30 off the clock and only gaining 14 yards between both teams. On the second series of the game for the Panthers a big 25 yard gain by Marey Roby would get things going. A few plays later it was NUIC leading rusher Ethan Fye punching it in for 6 points from 5 yards out with 3:38 remaining in the 1st quarter.
Le-Win would force a Warrior punt on the following series, but the 3rd Le-Win possession was short lived as Luke Benson dropped back and was mauled by the East Dubuque defense, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Sam Huntington at the Le-Win 29 yard line.
Starting the drive on Le-Win's side of the field would be the only time the Warriors would find their way across midfield in the first half. The Panther defense stiffened up on 4 straight downs and only allowed 4 yards before forcing a turnover on downs at their own 25 yard line just 10 seconds into the 2nd quarter.
The Panthers would get a big 18 yard gain off a Benson to Brady Eilders pass play, and then tack on 15 yards for a roughing the passer penalty by the Warriors that put Le-Win into East Dubuque territory. With the ground game picking up yards behind Eilders and Fye the Panthers would work their way into the red zone, where the drive would be capped off by a 3 yard TD run by Roby. The 2 point try was good as Le-Win took a 14-0 lead with 8:28 remaining in the first half.
Le-Win would attack the Warriors again, forcing another 3 and out after only allowing 1 yard. The very next play would see Fye break off tackle to his left and dash up the sideline untouched for a 67 yard TD run, and after the 2 point try was good the Panthers would take a commanding 22-0 lead with 3:33 left in the half, and that would remain the same score at the break.
The second half belonged to Le-Win, as they would score on 3 consecutive drives in the 3rd quarter, as Fye would add his 3rd TD run of the night, Jake Zeal would get an 18 yard TD run, and Gage Dunker added a 23 yard TD run that would lift the Panthers to a 44-0 lead with 4:01 remaining in the 3rd quarter to get the clock running.
On their very next offensive series Le-Win would hit pay dirt again, this time on a Wes Offerman 5 yard TD run that would close the scoring on the night and give Le-Win the 52-0 win.
The Le-Win defense would hold the Warriors to 0 yards rushing and 94 yards passing, while on offense they gashed the Warriors for what seemed to be a quite 408 yards rushing and 64 yards passing.
Through the first 4 weeks the Panthers have outscored their opponents 172-6, which has put the state on notice that DeKalb may very well run through Lena-Winslow, and it wouldn't be hard to imagine as the Panthers have played for state in DeKalb 3 of the 4 years they have been the host. The lone year they didn't make it was in 2015, when Le-Win was ranked #1 entering the playoffs but lost in the 2nd round at home to Orion. Le-Win will hit the road and take on Fulton next Friday night. The Steamers enter Saturday's game with Madison at 2-1, but are a 5 TD favorite in that game.
For East Dubuque, the schedule eases up just a bit, with state ranked opponents in Forreston and Galena still looming ahead, but the Warriors must play with their backs against the wall for a shot at the playoffs as they enter week 5 at with a record of 1-3. East Dubuque will return home and play Stockton (1-3) on Friday night.
Leading the way for the Panthers was Ethan Fye, who collected 91 yards rushing on 10 attempts and 3 TD's. Brady Eilders and Jake Zeal added 56 yards and 57 yards, respectively, as each put up a score. Roby finished with 48 yards on the ground with a score, and Wes Offerman put up 49 yards on the ground with a TD and an INT on defense. Dunker had the lone 23 yard run for the score.
For the Warriors, Sam Bowman went 12-23 passing for 68 yards, while Zach Freiburger and Brevin Lee each had 33 yards receiving. Sam Huntington added 22 yards in receptions.