Winnebago’s Zach Wendler (11) grabs a first down catch as Byron’s Dayne Snodgrass (14) zeroes in on the tackle in the Indian’s season opening loss to the Tigers.

By Doug Schroder
High school football returned to Illinois when the 2019 season kicked off on Friday, Aug. 30. One area Big-Northern matchup featured Byron, the number one ranked team in 4A preseason polls, traveling to Winnebago where they took on the Indians.
Byron picked up where they left off after a run to the title game last year.
First quarter touchdown runs by Isacc Stickler for 10-yards, and Ian Palskill for 3-yards staked the Tigers to a 14-0 lead after the period. Aydin Lambert scored both points as he kicked each of the PAT’s.
Byron quickly added to the total when Drake Snodgrass scored on an 85-yard run at the 11:03 mark of the second quarter. Lambert again added the PAT to extend the Tiger lead to 21-0.
Winnebago then took the ensuing kickoff and managed to get a small drive going. The drive stalled deep in Tigers territory though, and the Indians decided to go for the field goal on fourth down. Michael Cunningham then nailed the 41-yard field goal attempt to get the Indians on the board, trailing 21-3.
Byron kept the pressure on Winnebago by scoring two more times before halftime.
Drake Snodgrass netted is second touchdown of the period when he ran one in from 27-yards out, the PAT conversion run by Lambert was no good, and the Tigers built a 27-3 lead.
Stickler then scored his second touchdown of the day when he broke through the line with some blockers out front as he ran 64-yards to pay dirt. Lambert’s PAT put Byron ahead 34-3 at the half.
Palzkill added another touchdown on the day with a 7-yard run at the 8:14 mark of the third period. With Lamberts kick Byron went up 41-3.
Byron kicker Aydin Lambert added a field goal at the 5:17 mark of the third to make the score 44-3.
Tiger Aydin Coffey closed out the scoring when he ran 54-yards at the 11:16 mark of the fourth quarter. Ethan Bonnell was stopped on the 2-point conversion run to bring the score to 50-3.
Despite the score Winnebago’s offense managed to out gain Byron in passing yardage, 69-0.
The Indians also bested Byron in time of possession, 26:43 to 21:17.
The big difference was Byron averaged 10.6 yards per play, while Winnebago only averaged 2.4 yards per play, with Byron racking up 465 yards of total offense to Winnebago’s 185.
Individual leaders on defense were Tyler Elsbury of Byron with 4.5 tackles and 2 sacks, and Micah Gearhart of Winnebago with 6 tackles and 1 sack.
Winnebago will lick their wounds and hope to get back on track in the win column when they travel to Mendota this Friday.
For Byron it will be archrival Stillman Valley next up on the schedule as the Tigers take on the Cardinals in Stillman Valley.

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