The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Sports

November 2, 2013

Playoff football: Panthers grind out historic win

ERIE, Ill. —

For three and a half quarters, River Valley succeeded where others failed during the 2013 season. The Falcons kept Erie/Prophetstown running back Nick Williams out of the end zone. The result of this triumph was a 30-28 deficit in the fourth quarter. Jordan Chandler's 25-yard touchdown run made it 36-28, but it didn't pull the Panthers out of the woods.
With seven minutes to go, there was plenty of time left for River Valley to steal a road playoff victory and for a little Panthers adversity. And after starting Panthers quarterback Ethan Howard came up limp on a 21-yard keeper, there was even room for doubt to creep in.
"He's such a huge part of our team. He's our play-caller, so we're just feeling for him," said Owen McConnell, senior Panthers offensive lineman.
The coaches shut down Howard for the rest of the game, handing Chandler — a sophomore — quarterback duties. Erie/Prophetstown proceeded to pound it up the gut on four consecutive plays, resulting in Williams' first touchdown on a 14-yard bruiser. The senior back also added the two-pointer and the Panthers were back in their comfort zone, 44-28.
"We're not going to let this happen to one of our brothers," Williams said. "We really had to let them know that we're not going to let them walk all over us."
Chris Bauer's interception stalled the next Falcons drive, and Williams added another score for insurance. What was once a nail-biter turned into a convincing 50-28 Panthers victory, the school's first home postseason win in history.
"I'm proud of you all," E/P coach Chuck Milem said to his players in the post-game huddle. "You're setting history here. Let's keep it going."

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