DEKALB (WCIA) — If you only take a look at the scoreboard following the Class 1A state title game, it shows a Lena-Winslow blowout. No, it’s not because Central A&M was that bad, simply the Panthers are that good.
“I said when I watched the film the first time, the first thing was ‘Whoa’,” Central A&M head coach Brent Weakly said. “They’re really good, got a lot of talent. I don’t know if they’re the greatest 1A team but they’re up there I can tell you that.”
“By far the best team we’ve ever played,” Central A&M senior quarterback Connor Heaton said. “Just a great program, good coach, had phenomenal players. We played our hardest and that’s all you can ask. We were just outmatched today and they played a better game.”
The Raiders played from behind the entire game, after digging themselves a 14-0 first quarter hole. It’s a position that CAM didn’t see often this year, finishing the season with a 13-1 record.
“We definitely weren’t used to that,” Heaton said about playing from behind. “We’re used to getting the lead quick and keeping it the rest of the game. We knew we were going to face some adversity and we did and second quarter we kind of got rolling but third quarter we just didn’t have it and then just got beat from there.”
“It’s always tough but we never give up,” Central A&M senior receiver Jacob Paradee said. “We’re so competitive, it’s just hard once you dig yourself in that hole it’s hard to get out of.”
Paradee finished with a new Class 1A title game record of 157 yards receiving. Lena-Winslow (14-0) got an all-time performance from running back Sean Ormiston who rushed for 187 yards and five touchdowns, a new Class 1A state final record for most rushing scores in a game. The senior actually had six touchdowns, adding an interception return for a TD.
Now the focus turns towards basketball where the Raiders were supposed to play tomorrow night, that game has been cancelled to give these guys a little bit of rest. They’re expecting to make a return trip to Peoria in March, after finishing 3rd last season.