CAMP POINT, Ill. (WGEM) -- All it took was three words from the mouth of Central/Southeastern senior quarterback Seth Leezer following Saturday's quarterfinal win at DuQuoin to describe his team.
Now the town of Camp Point is posting signs around town with that infamous phrase.
Leezer called the Panthers "the real deal" and he's right on target.
Up until the quarterfinals C/SE had yet to be tested on the road in the postseason in a rather unsettling environment. Brad Dixon's squad quickly silenced the doubters in knocking off the Indians at their lavish facility.
The victory did plenty for a team who now a week later finds themselves with another road test.
"That really boosts our confidence levels because nobody expected us to go down there and beat (DuQuoin) and then we did," senior Logan Myers said.
"We kind of shocked the world with that one and now we hope to do it again."
Senior Dalton Heubner says it turned out to be the perfect internal execution.
"We went down there and played our game," Heubner explained.
"It meant a lot to this program and showed us how good we can really be, and how good we are. That was a big game."
According to Dixon, "I think it does wonders for our program and kind of justifies the work we've put in to have a victory like that."
One of the more remarkable feats for the Panthers, not just in the playoffs, but all season long is their turnover ratio.
They have forced 27 miscues while keeping their own mistakes at single digits (8 turnovers this season).
It's the difference between preparing for a chance to play in Champaign, as opposed to wondering what if?
"We're over three-to-one in takeaway's and that's been huge," Dixon said.
"We've been able to get on teams early, we got off the bus at DuQuoin and ran the opening kickoff back (for a touchdown). In our other games obviously we started fast in our home games and we want to be able to do that against Belleville (Althoff) and then get teams on their heels a little bit."
Senior Doug Weese says playing near perfect football has been a big part of the Panthers success.
"It's big. If we can get the other team to turn the ball over it gives us an extra possession," Weese indicated.
"Even if we don't score which we want to, but even if we don't, we can run some time off the clock and hopefully manage the time better."
Next up for Central/Southeastern is Saturday's semifinal with Belleville Althoff. Dixon calls the Crusaders "the best collection of athletes he's ever coached against."
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