ROXANA – Last year's Roxana football team made the trip to the central Illinois town of Pana and managed to squeeze out a two-point win over the Panthers.

That win sparked a big season for the Shells, who went on to reach the IHSA Class 4A playoffs and advanced to the second round before being eliminated by Carterville.

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This year, the Panthers are making the trip to Charlie Raich Field for a Week 2 South Central Conference encounter with the Shells, and while Roxana dropped a 48-24 decision to Carlinville last week in their season-opener, Shells coach Pat Keith thinks his team can bounce back from the loss.

“We played pretty well overall,” Keith said of his team. “We knew we needed to fix a few things this week, and we think we did that in practice. We know we just need to shake off last week's loss and try to win this week.”

Pana is coming off a big win last week, having whitewashed Staunton 50-0. “They played a pretty good game,” Keith said. “Pana has some good skill players and we're expecting a very good conference game for us this week.”

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Both teams are somewhat similar; Keith is hoping to get the Shells' running game going against the Panthers. “We're wanting to hold the ball for as long as we can and use up some clock,” Keith said. “We want to get our running game established and get some scores. They like to run as well, so it may well come down to who makes the fewest mistakes.

“We definitely want to get that first win of the year in front of our home fans. It's going to be a good football game, no doubt, and we're really looking forward to it.”


LIVE: Tonight at 6:30 p.m. on Pana at Roxana...


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