By Christopher Johnson


Ethan Palzkill evades the Lisle defensive line during the second quarter of the second round 3A Playoff game against Lisle in Byron on Saturday, Nov. 6. Byron won the game 34-7.

Now at 11-0 the Byron Tigers season continues to move on, potentially to DeKalb and the Class 3A State Football Championship Game.

On Saturday afternoon, as many area teams which advanced past the opening round of the State Football Playoffs had already fallen, Byron pushed on following a 34-14 routing of eight-seed Lisle.

The Tigers started exactly how they wanted through a series of denial acts. Lisle would not be able to figure out how to move the ball against the Big Northern Champion.

During the regular season that wasn’t a problem as Lisle stayed at the top of the pack in points scored per night in the Illinois Central Eight Conference.

On Saturday afternoon, they couldn’t penetrate Byron’s interwoven defensive line and consistently ran out of opportunity with only a few plays netting positive gains early.

After one period of play the top-seed in the 3A realm and the upstart Lions were tied at seven points each with a lot of football to go. That gave Byron the massive edge it needed.

Throughout the season the one consistent that has represented the Byron Tigers has been its ability to shut down teams and take advantage of every opportunity that has been given.

Since week one of the regular season as Byron shut out the Stillman Valley Cardinals 35-0, teams have not scored at will against the Tigers defense and if they have, Byron has stopped the scoring, secured the lead and ran the table towards victory.

It wasn’t until game five of the 2021 fall sports season that the Byron Tigers say any team score against them in the opening period.

North Boone put up seven in the September closer and would not score again as the Tigers ran down the win 49-7.

Rock Falls followed suit one week later and picked up seven points in the first in the October opener and watched Byron run off 63 unanswered points.

That success trend continued as Byron entered the Class 3A State Tournament on Friday, Oct. 29.

In the opening round game Chicago Catalyst-Maria saw exactly what Big Northern residents have seen all season: a Tigers defense that ranks among the best in the State of Illinois.

The one-seed came away with the expected win 58-0 and moved into the round two game at home against the Illinois Central Eight representing Lions.

With the game entering the second quarter tied at seven, Byron began exerting a lot of force over and through the Lions defensive line.

By the end of the second quarter, the questionable outcome cleared as the Tigers jumped out to a three score lead 28-7.

Lisle would enter the third with a new perspective but end the frame with the same game in place, with the exception of an additional six point add-on for Byron.

After three the lead was 34-7 and time opened for substitute adjustments in the final period of the second round game.

Lisle got on the scoreboard again in the fourth as many Byron starters began preparing for the third round game this Saturday at home against Braidwood.

Byron moved on to the Saturday showdown for the Final Four with the 34-14 win over Lisle and will now face the 10-1 Reed Custer Comets Saturday afternoon.

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