The Forreston Cardinals have earned their third trip to state in the past five seasons. On Friday, at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, they will have a chance to do something that no conference team has done yet: win three state titles in five seasons.

If the Cardinals pull off the victory they will create yet another tie at the top of the conference with the most state titles joining Aquin, Galena, Dakota and Lena-Winslow (who just joined the club last year.) The Cards had a huge victory over preseason favorite Lena-Winslow in the semifinals last week, avenging a week 2 loss in the process.

Meeting them in Champaign will be a Camp Point Central Panther team making its first trip to state in school history. Forreston will see a mirror image when they take the field on Friday, as the Panthers run a very similar double-wing offense with schemes that mimic what we have become accustomed to seeing out of the Cardinals. On defense, the Panthers will try to attack the ball with a combination of blitzes in their base 3-5 defense. This will create a very intriguing match-up in the Class 1A title game.

Camp Point Central hails from the Western Illinois Valley Conference, a conference that Forreston has faced once before in their first trip to state in 2014, when they played the Carrollton Hawks. The Panthers were able to get past their nemesis, the Hawks, this year in the second round of the playoffs. It was the first time the Panthers have beaten the Hawks in the playoffs.

Another interesting stat leading into this game is that both teams played three conference opponents to reach the state title game.

Forreston will look to add to the legacy of the NUIC, as it can win the 15th title in the past 16 seasons, along with adding the 20th title in conference history. It will take a great effort Friday, but if the Cardinals stick to their game plan you could see a long list of happy travelers heading back north up I-74 and I-39. An escort will be waiting for the team to arrive home, hopefully with the championship hardware in tow.

The game will kickoff at 10 a.m. Friday from Memorial Stadium, the home of the University of Illinois football team.

No. 6 Forreston Cardinals 11-2 vs. No. 2 Camp Point Central Panthers 12-1

Forreston Cardinals

Conf: NUIC Northwest

State Titles: 2014, 2016

Playoff Record: 31-21

Trips to Playoffs: 24th

Consecutive: 9th

Trips to State: 3rd

PPG/For: 37.5

PPG/Against: 19.7

Round 1: Hiawatha 48-0

Round 2: Milledgeville 22-20 OT

Quarters: Dakota 22-20

Semis: Le-Win 34-28

Camp Point Central Panthers

Conference: WIVC North

State: No Appearances

Playoff Record: 15-11

Trips to Playoffs: 12th

Consecutive: 11th

Trips to State: 1st

PPG/For: 39.5

PPG/Against: 12.5

Round 1: Greenfield-Northwestern 43-12

Round 2: Carrollton 31-6

Quarters: Triopia 38-14

Semis: Argenta-Oreana 35-22

Kyle Kampmier and Shane Klever are co-founders of nuicfootball.com.