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Unlike years past, the opening round of the IHSA 1A football playoffs did not feature a cupcake opponent paying a visit to Lena. No, this year, due to dwindling numbers, a rather formidable traditional power – Rockford Lutheran – was the first round opponent. And while the eventual outcome on the scoreboard looked familiar, the Panthers had to put some serious work in to bring an end to the Crusader's season.

On the opening kickoff, the ball rolled down to the Lutheran 22 where Gavin Sanders picked up the ball, sprinted to his right to get around the Panther cover team that lost containment, t...


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