Despite winning, the Panthers took somewhat of a bruising getting there. Senior starting quarterback Ethan Howard went down with a leg injury following a 21-yard run and was unable to finish the final seven minutes of the game. While the Panthers didn't miss a beat, giving signal calling duties to Chandler, Milem will want all hands on deck when they play a higher rated opponent.
In favor of the Panthers is another home playoff game. Had Stillman Valley lost to Bloomington Central, the Panthers would have had to travel over two hours for their next game.
"It's an indescribable feeling for me," McConnell said. "I don't know if it's really sunk in that we're the first to win at home. First team to go 8-2. It just shows that we worked really hard this summer and right now, it's paying off."
Kickoff for today's game is 1:30 p.m. at Erie. The winner between the Panthers and Cardinals will play the winner of No. 1 seed Winnebago and No. 8 seed Kankakee (McNamara) in the semifinals at a to be determined site.