Forreston and Lena-Winslow have won four of the last seven 1-A state championships, with the Panthers owning the 2010 and 2013 crowns, and the Cardinals capturing the 2014 and 2016 titles. Now these two NUIC powerhouses collide in a semifinal showdown on Saturday, with the winner advancing to DeKalb to play for the 2017 1-A state championship.
The Panthers' 12-0 record includes a Week 2 victory over the Cardinals, a 28-14 win that snapped Forreston's 15-game winning streak dating back to last year. They haven't lost since that defeat, rolling to a 10-game winning streak while Le-Win coasted to a conference title.
Another wrinkle to this rivalry's next chapter is what happened in last year's postseason - Forreston blew out Lena-Winslow on the Panthers' home field in a 44-7 quarterfinal victory, a score that has lingered in the back of the Panthers' minds. Both these teams have claims to revenge, and they'll be fighting on what's expected to be a less-than-ideal playing surface at 2:00 on Saturday in Lena.
The winner of this 1-A semifinal draws the victor of the Tuscola-Athens matchup in next Friday's 1-A state title game at Huskie Stadium in DeKalb.