By Christopher Johnson

The Byron 3A State Final Champions celebrate as they receive their trophy.

The Byron Tigers are State Champions! They accomplished the task this past week when they eliminated the last remaining undefeated team in the 3A Realm.

Before Byron had the chance to battle for the State Title they had to take down the biggest threat the team had faced this season.

In the 3A State Semi-Final, Elmhurst IC Catholic pushed Byron to the very end before succumbing to the top-seed Tigers by a final score of 15-14, earning Byron its right to face the number one team from the south.

Tolono Unity was 13-0 on Friday, Nov. 26 as the team took the field against the similarly statistically listed Tigers, also at 13-0.

Through the weeding process of the 3A Tournament, one by one, undefeated teams fell, leaving only two standing, which in 2021 were the Rockets from Tolono Unity and the Tigers from the heart of Ogle County.

In the third game of the day, after Tigers faithful cheered on neighbor 1A State Champion Lena-Winslow in its own State Final victory, the atmosphere was charged with focus.

There were few teams that could stand against Byron on the field, especially when its top-ranked defense did exactly what was listed in the playbook.

The Rockets were a team that knew how to score and were very good at accomplishing that goal. On Friday they weren’t and it was Byron’s fault.

The Tigers have needed, statistically, one score to win most of their game this season, then the defense took over and the team found ways to tack on extra bonus points pushing it to its perfect showing this season.

After each 3A Finals team had its shot working the ball on the field on the grounds of Northern Illinois University, Byron became the team that figured out how to capitalize, first.

The Tigers put up seven points through the air in the opening frame and made the 7-0 margin hold as the second quarter of the 3A State Finals game was set to begin.

Tolono Unity pushed the Tigers out of position just enough in the second and found a seam that allowed the Rockets to put a score on the board.

Byron took care of the issue of the score as it closed the period with an additional 13 points scored. At the break it was the Tigers in front 20-7.

The third period was a struggle for both teams as they kept getting close enough to keep drives going, but not far enough to assure the chains would move.

Only eight points were put  up in the third and it was the top-seed Tigers who picked up the tally, pushing the lead to 28-7 with only a quarter to play.

It was do or die time, as cliche’s are sometimes required. Byron made sure there would be no hope.

The defense was in a constant state of denial as they diffused the Rockets attack consistently, managing to keep the shut-out in the second half remaining for the eventual State Champion.

Seven points more were put on the board before the final siren sounded, signifying the Tigers total domination of the 2021 fall sports season with the 35-7 Class 3A Title Match final score.

This season ends for the Tolono Unity Rockets with the second best record in the State of Illinois’ 3A World. The top honors go to the Byron Tigers who once again brought home the Stat Title courtesy of a 14-0 season.

Congratulations to the Byron Tigers from the Tempo Newspaper on your well-deserved acceptance of the Class 3A State Football Championship Trophy.

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