The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

High School Sports

November 2, 2013

Playoff football: Panthers grind out historic win


ERIE, Ill. —

Without Williams' two scores, Erie/Prophetstown still might have eked out the victory with the late eight-point advantage. After the Falcons controlled the ball for 10 of 12 minutes in the third quarter, the Panthers' defense proceeded to shut down River Valley's balanced offense, allowing only 55 total yards over the last 11 minutes of the game.
But players spoke of how crucial Williams' runs and Chandler's poise were when the game was on the line.

"Nick's eyes definitely popped up when his quarterback went down," Milem said. "He knew he had to put this team on his shoulder, and that's what he did."
On Chandler, Milem added: "The kid's a gamer. This is what he lives for — moments like that. We don't bat an eye when that kid comes in for us."
"With Chandler only being a sophomore, us senior linemen take him under our wing," McConnell said. "We just kept giving him confidence, and it felt great."
Williams ran for 156 yards on 22 carries. Chandler accounted for 93 rushing yards and the offense ran without a hiccup despite losing Howard and his 101. Each player accounted for two Panthers touchdowns.
Both sides of the ball worked in E/P's favor at the start. The Panthers opened with a nine-play, 70-yard drive that ended in an 11-yard Bauer sweep for six. On River Valley's first possession, the Panthers line capitalized on a botched pitch, pouncing on the loose ball in Falcons' territory and setting up their second score.
E/P had mounted a 14-0 lead through the first quarter and built it to 30-16 before halftime. The Panthers scored on their first four possessions on 31 rushing attempts and some well-timed trickery.
With four minutes left in the half, Milem's team marched from its 49 to the Falcons' 26 on three straight runs. He pounded Williams up the middle twice in a row, then opened the play book. Howard faked the handoff to E/P's workhorse, then flicked it to Bauer up the middle for a wide-open 26-yard touchdown score.

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