Paxton-Buckley-Loda ready for new challenge in Illini Prairie Conference


PAXTON (WCIA) — Paxton-Buckley-Loda brings back 16 starters from the spring season but a lot of unknowns remain heading into the season. The Panthers are preparing to play their first season in the Illini Prairie Conference, moving from the now defunct Sangamon Valley Conference.

“It’s going to be significantly tougher,” Paxton-Buckley-Loda head coach Josh Pritchard said. “But our kids prepare to win, they expect to win, and that’s how we’re going to prepare for every single game. Hopefully at the end of the season we’re in the playoffs and we can go as far as we need to.”

PBL has been to the playoffs six straight seasons, minus last year’s COVID-19 shortened campaign when the postseason was canceled. How that success in the SVC translates to the IPC, a traditionally tougher conference, is yet to be seen.

“Unity and St. Joe and all them, they’ve got some really tough teams and they’re going to be some tough competitors for us,” Paxton-Buckley-Loda senior lineman Wyatt Hollen added.

“I know that everybody back behind me is jumping off the walls and they’re ready to play,” Paxton-Buckley-Loda senior linebacker Garrett Sanders said.

PBL opens its season next Friday night at Illinois Valley Central.

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