By Chris Johnson

Sports Correspondent

The Byron Tigers have a chance to work through the Big Northern Conference and close the season with no worse than a co-conference championship. Taking care of immediate business on the road at Stillman Valley on Friday night, Sept. 9, Byron emphasized its claim at the top spot with a 50-15 win. The victory pushed the Tigers to 3-0 on the season. where they remain tied with the Dixon Dukes and the Genoa-Kingston Cogs for first place, one game ahead of Winnebago and Rock Falls.

It appeared that once the Tigers offense found its step, the game was played at a faster pace.

After scoring at the 4:28 mark in the first quarter, following a Nolan Bielskis reception from Brandon Elsbury, the extra point kick gave Byron the 7-0 lead after one.

Things seemed to pick up as the second quarter moved forward, especially in the Tigers backfield. With solid line play and yards adding up, Bielskis broke through his defenders and scored from three-yards out. The extra point kick gave Byron the 14-0 lead.

At the 6:25 mark in the second, Stillman Valley caught a break as Harrison Morphey reeled in a pass from Andrew Wilhite, leading to a 65-yard touchdown play. With less than five minutes to go in the first half, the two-point conversion brought Stillman Valley back to within six points, 14-8.

Head Coach Jeff Boyer refocused his team. Byron began pushing the ball down the field. With ten seconds to go in the half, Justin Martinez carried one across from a yard away. Byron was back in front by 13, 21-8.

The Tigers’ defense tightened up even more in the third quarter as the Cardinals were forced to stall. Byron’s offense, however, found another gear and with 7:30 to go in the third Bieslskis scored from one-yard away. The successful two-point try extended Byron’s lead to 21, 29-8.

With the Tigers in control, leading by three scores, fresh legs and a chance for experience began to surface. Junior Michael Criscione broke free from tacklers and scamperd 13-yards for the touchdown strike. The lead grew to 36-8. Minutes later, the third quarter came to a close.

In the fourth, the Tigers offense kept moving the ball, taking time off the clock and pushing the pile forward. With 8:17 to go in the game senior Peyton Keller ran one across, after breaking free at the eight-yard line. The extra-point kick made it 43-8 in favor of Byron.

Stillman responded efficiently following the Byron score. and moved inside the Byron ten-yard line. At the 6:35 mark, Scott Volden carried the ball seven-yards for the touchdown score. The extra point cut the Cardinals’ deficit to 43-15.

As time was being taken off the clock in the final minutes, Alex Carlson scored for the final time for Byron, as he ran through his line from two-yards out and into the end zone. The Trevor Koritz kick made it 50-15. The senior was 6-6 on his extra point attempts in the Byron win.

The final score pushed Stillman Valley to a deceptive 1-2 and allowed Byron to move to 3-0 on the early season.

Genoa Kingston and Dixon won their games on Friday night to remain undefeated on the season. They carry 3-0 marks and share the Big Northern lead with Byron, at least for the time being.

Byron plays at home this Friday night, Sept. 16 and will host North Boone. The Vikings are 1-2 this season. Dixon is at Rockford Lutheran. Genoa-Kingston will host Winnebago.

Byron has a chance at an undefeated season and will not have to face Genoa-Kingston or Dixon this season.

Dixon and Genoa-Kingston, however, will have to play each other. They suit up for a week seven showdown.

Byron travels to Rock Falls in week five. Oregon visits the Tigers on Sept. 30. The 2016 regular season for Byron comes to a close on Friday, Oct. 21, as they play host to the playoff seeking Winnebago Indians.


Tiger QB Brandon Elsbury gets chased down by Cardinals Jared Van Vleet (33) and Tyler Schlaf (26) during Byron’s victory at Stillman Valley on Friday, Sept 9. See page 10 for more photos. CHRIS BRAUNS PHOTOS Tempo

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