Star back's career game leads Lena-Winslow past Fulton and into football semifinals
LENA — Senior halfback Marey Roby had 109 yards and two touchdowns in Saturday's Class 1A state quarterfinal showdown between Lena-Winslow and Fulton — on his first two carries.
And he didn't stop there, rushing for 257 yards and three first-half touchdowns while sparking Le-Win to a 54-28 victory to vault the Panthers into the Class 1A state semifinals for the fourth postseason in a row.
"After those first two, I was thinking if they keep blocking for me like that, it's going to be a long game — it's going to be a fun game," Roby said after posting a career-high in yards rushing. "This is what happens when you play team football. All the credit goes to that line. Those guys were on it."
More Le-Win football:Lena-Winslow avenges loss to Forreston and rolls into IHSA football quarterfinals
Le-Win has won two of the last three 1A state championships, and it bowed out in the semis to the eventual champs from Forreston in 2018. The tourney was canceled last year because of COVID-19.
Now, Roby has the Panthers on the doorstep once again. Le-Win (10-2) will now host Colfax Ridgeview/Lexington at 2 p.m. Saturday for the right to head to DeKalb on Nov. 26 for the 1A championship game.
"Big-time players have to step up in big-time games, and I knew I had to do it today," Roby said. "Now, we're going to go right back and get ready to do it again."
Le-Win pounded Fulton 54-6 the first time around, in Week 5 of the regular season. But since then Fulton had won six in a row by an average margin of 45-9. And the Steamers came out motivated on Saturday, converting on back-to-back third-and-longs before punting it away on their first possession.
Then it quickly turned into Roby time.
"This was about as much fun as I've had in a football game," Roby added, "ever."
He helped Le-Win to its last of four state championships in a decade as a sophomore with 742 yards and nine TDs. But he injured his leg in the first quarter of the first game last spring, missing the entire season. He slowly worked his way back into football shape this season, and has been on a tear of late.
Roby rushed for 169 yards on just eight carries as Le-Win scorched Aurora Christian 54-7 in the first week of the playoffs, then he tore through Forreston for 166 yards and four touchdowns on his 18th birthday in the second round. He now has 1,339 yards and 19 touchdowns through 12 games.
And on Saturday he was at his best. After opening with a 71-yard touchdown run on Le-Win's first play, Roby darted 38 yards for a score on his second carry, still midway through the first quarter. Jake Zeal capped off a short drive with a 3-yard TD run for Le-Win as the rout was on.
Fulton, which got 366 passing yards and 2 TDs through the air from QB Patrick Lower, cut it to 24-14 late in the first half. But Roby struck again on the next drive, and it was out of reach the rest of the way.
Le-Win, now 16-1 in the playoffs since 2017, also got 75 yards and a touchdown on just seven carries from Ethan Fye as it rolled to 498 rushing yards.