The parking lot was full and the stands were packed on Friday night in Gilman for the Iroquois West Raiders' match up against the PBL Panthers.
The two teams hosted a "Hometown Heroes" event, in which service men and women were called out to the end-zone to be honored at half time. The teams also worked with each other before the game to bring out a large flag to be held during the National Anthem. Paxton Fire Department also displayed a flag over the field for the duration of the game.
Unfortunately for the Raiders, the unity between the teams did not last long.
At the 8:44 mark of the first quarter, PBL was able to score their first touchdown of the night with a successful two-point conversion to follow to lead the Raiders 8-0 going into the second quarter. The Panthers were able to pick up 14 more points while holding the Raiders to 0 in the first half of the game.
Things didn't go much better for the Raiders in the bottom half of the night, with the PBL Panthers extended their lead to 44-0 in the third quarter and triggering the continuous clock. The Panthers were able to grab one final touch down of the night before time ran out making the final score 50-0 to end the game.
"We can blame our execution tonight," said Iroquois West head coach Cameron Stone.
"We're young and they're a big physical team and we knew that coming in. We tried to match that with speed and they ultimately just overpowered us. But we're going to get there. We are going to keep improving and keep building."
Stone also took pride in the night's event is glad he and his team were able to pay their respects to the people that defend this country.
"Our community is extremely proud of this event. Our booster club did an outstanding job organizing the event in getting our heroes recognized. They do a thankless job and hopefully they can have some recognition and enjoy their night."
The Iroquois West Raiders' will be on the road next week as they get set to take on the Momence Redskins.