By Christopher Johnson


Byron’s Chandler Binkley tries to slip through the grasp of Genoa-Kingston’s Brody Engel, 2, and Aiden Vasak in the second quarter of their game on Friday, Sept. 17 in Byron. The Tigers beat the Cogs 7-3.

The difficult nature of the Big Northern Conference has both the Byron Tigers and neighboring Stillman Valley Cardinals fighting back some feisty foes and gaining ground in the hunt for post-season positioning as a result.

This past weekend, both Rt. 72 residents of the tougher-than-average mid-school conference found ways to pull off needed wins.

Byron relied on its shutdown defense, which paved the way for the four-point victory and the right to move up to 4-0 this season and claim sole possession of first place in the Big Northern.

The 7-3 final score kept Byron perfect as the midway point of the fall campaign approaches. The hard work on the field also continues to push them ever so more, up the State of Illinois football rankings polls.

Scoring three points was a low point for the Cogs this fall. They had previously averaged 30 points each time they took the field on Friday nights.

Byron ended that streak and gave Genoa-Kingston a big mark next to their loss column, pushing them down to 3-1 in the Big Northern and giving a lot of other teams a chance to still forge hope for a shot at the title

Game five of the fall session is this Friday night for Byron and they will be at home welcoming in still hopeful North Boone.

The Vikings enter the road trip with a 2-2 mark and know they stand a good chance of keeping their own post-season hopes alive, especially if an upset of Byron was managed.

Airborne assaults have been a common attack plan in many North Boone-Byron Big Northern battles. Tigers fans expect the team defense to cause a lot of missteps for the marauding Vikings.

Byron holds onto first place as week five looms and sees three teams within one game and five two or less back with five to go in the regular season.

Following the Friday meeting with North Boone, Byron heads out a week later and visits Rock Falls.

The Tigers will travel back to friendlier grounds on Friday, Oct. 8 as they welcome in the Oregon Hawks.

Byron closes down the preliminaries after road trips to Dixon on Oct. 15 and Rockford Christian on Oct. 22.

Stillman Valley’s win over former first place holder Dixon on Friday night, 20-14, gave the Dukes their first loss of the year and helped Byron clamp down on sole leadership rights.

The Dukes were quick to the tackle and found open angles, but Stillman Valley, when given its chance to roll on offense, found ways to collect appreciated yards and secure enough points to move to 3-1 on the season.

Second place is a shared position currently with the Cardinals, Cogs and Dukes all sitting one full game ahead of Winnebago and North Boone and two ahead of Rock Falls and Rockford Lutheran

Cardinals football heads home on Friday night as Rockford Christian visits and provides the hosts a statistical edge to move to three games over this season with four to play.

North Boone plays host in the October opener, Friday, Oct. 1 and could be looking at needing to pull off the upset to keep a good chance at making it into October.

Game seven is at Winnebago and will feature a contest that has major post-season implications. Game eight, against Rockford Lutheran helps set the stage for the regular season finale at Genoa-Kingston on Oct. 22.

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