[Audio] Byron Football Punches Ticket To Title Game As Their Opposing Fans Melt Down In Their Tiny Bleachers
We've been lucky to broadcast some excellent high school football games this year on 1440 WROK but none of them ever came close to our final broadcast of the year when we travelled to Elmhurst on Saturday for the 3A Semifinal matchup between the Byron Tigers and Immaculate Conception Knights.
First of all, it was a setting unlike any we've been in this year. You see, Immaculate Conception doesn't have a football field on campus. They really don't have anything on campus other than a small school because their plot of land is pretty small. So instead they have a sports complex about 5 miles from the school.
At this complex they have a football field, softball and baseball fields, a track, and some locker rooms. The football field they play on is beautiful, but the stands and press box are pretty small.
The press box is so small, our 3-man team for the broadcast had so set up camp in the bleachers surrounded by Immaculate Conception fans.
These were small bleachers too. Only about 8 rows deep and 40 people wide, they only sat around 300 Immaculate Conception fans. Also it was only Immaculate Conception fans because one the older women in the crowd was acting as the de facto bouncer for anyone trying to enter the bleachers. Even after I pointed to my 1440 WROK jacket to let her know that I "belonged" in their sacred section, she give me a furtive stare obviously not fully believing me.
To say I was nonplussed about the home crowd would be an understatement. The kids were fine and looked like they were having a great time. Some of the parents however thought that berating officials and the PA guy was something they were entitled to.
Listen for yourself:
Which made the last second comeback win by the Byron Tigers all the much sweeter.
The IC Knights controlled most of the game. They led 14-0 at the half. Byron's methodical running attack was moving until they got to the Knights side of the field where all their drives eventually stalled.
It was still 14-0 with under 4 minutes to go in the 4th quarter when the Tigers finally broke through with a touchdown to make the score 14-7. With about three and a half minutes of their season remaining, the Tigers needed a miracle.
And they got one.
Quarterback Braden Smith was called upon to perform an onside kick after the touchdown and he perfectly fired the kickoff directly off a Knight's mask just beyond the required 10-yard mark. The ball bounced towards Byron's Jared Claunch where the Tigers running back fell on it to give his team the ball back, needing a touchdown drive to send the game into overtime.
The Tigers would eventually find themselves with a fourth down attempt inside the Knight's 5-yard line and that's when they gave the ball to their All-State running back Chandler Binkley who punched it in from three yards out to make it a 14-13 game.
The Tigers wasted no time deciding that they were going to go for two and ran basically the same play to Binkley to cash in on the 2-pointer and take the lead with under 10 seconds on the clock.
The IC Catholic Prep Knights did not (ironically) have a successful last minute Hail Mary and the Tigers moved on to the Finals in DeKalb this Friday.
You can watch the Tigers try to claim the 3A state title this Friday afternoon on MeTV in Rockford, it's probably on your cable package. If you have a digital antenna, you can tune in to 13.3 for the title game as well.
One more hurdle for Byron. They seem to be a team of destiny and only one more hurdle is in front of them.
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