By Al Zipsie

Lena-Winslow and Forreston have been on a collision course since week two.

The Panthers beat the Cardinals 28-14 in that game. Either team has lost since and now will collide in the 1A semifinal Saturday at Lena-Winslow with the kickoff at 2 p.m. It's now a guarantee the NUIC will be in the 1A State Championship game the morning after Thanksgiving in Dekalb at Northern Illinois University. It's just a matter of which team. A NUIC team has been in the state championship game 14 of the last 15 years.

Lena-Winslow is unbeaten in 12 outings and the top-ranked 1A team in the state. Forreston, 11-1, are defending their State Championship and have won ten straight since the early loss to the Panthers. Both advanced from the quarterfinals Saturday as Lena-Winslow beat Aquin 67-28 and Forreston shutout Princeville 42-0. It was 30-0 at halftime. No team outside the Conference or in has been able to compete with Lena-Winslow and Forreston as they are on a level and a league of their own.

For Aquin it was the second straight year they bowed out in the semifinals as they finished 9-3. They were playing without the leading passer in the Conference in injured quarterback Jonah Diemer. The Panthers scored 60 points by halftime and rolled to the win. Rahveon Valentine rushed for 235 yards for Lena-Winslow now with 4,356 career rushing yards. He passed Dakota's Jake Apple who was a senior in 2011.

NUIC. Stateline Sports Hub Rankings.

  1. Lena-Winslow. 12-0.
  2. Forreston. 11-1.
  3. Aquin. 9-3.
  4. Stockton. 8-3.
  5. Dakota. 7-3.
  6. West Carroll. 7-4.
  7. Milledgeville. 8-3.
  8. E/PC. 5-5.
  9. Orangheville. 5-5.
  10. Polo. 5-4.



Durand one it's first state hardware ever in a girls sport. The Bulldogs volleyball team finished third at the1A State this past weekend in Normal. They lost a close three-set match in the semifinal to Strasburg-Stewardson Coop. On Saturday they beat Newark by identical 25-19 scores to finish the season an outstanding 35-2-1. McKenzie Damon led Durand with eleven kills in the third-place match.

It is the second state hardware won by Durand high school. The other was state runner-up finish in football in 1985.

For a complete list of all NUIC schools and state hardware. Go to Facebook. NUIC Sports.

Other Stateline football teams who have made the IHSA semifinals include both Sterling high schools. Sterling Newman in 2A and Sterling in 5A. Byron is in the 3A semifinal. Belvidere North's run was ended in the quarterfinals.


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