Added experience should payoff for Byron this season

High School Football

BYRON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –They’re always ready for football season in Byron. The Tigers are upbeat about the young men they’ll put on the field this season.

The Tigers went 3-2 in the spring getting in the maximum amount of games in the Big Northern Conference. It was valuable experience for a young team that graduated most of the key pieces from their state runner-up teams the previous two years.

“We were fortunate to get those five games in,” said head coach Jeff Boyer.  A lot of these kids coming back this year got some valuable experience in the spring, so I think those five games were crucial for us last year, and I think these guys will be ready to go this year.”

The Tigers graduated a pair of first team all-conference linemen in Louie Cretsinger and Josh Johnson, but the lines should still be a strength for the Tigers.

“Our line is looking pretty good this year,” said starting guard Jake Lenz. “We’ve got backups in every spot, and our younger men are working up to get to where we are right now. Yea, our line is looking pretty good this year.”

“We’ve got some guys coming back up front,” said Boyer. “That’s way different then where we were last year.”

The Tigers have three strong tackles Tyler Reed, Nick Brass and Josh Bianchi. Lenz and Jacob Kann will be keys on the interior.

Junior Braden Smith is back for his second season as the starting quarterback. Boyer liked what he saw from Smith in the spring.

“Even those five games last year as a sophomore the kid was playing like a senior making great decisions, and we’re really looking to put more on his plate this year.”

Tailback Chandler Binkley will have a lot on his plate. He rushed for 502 yards and five touchdowns in the spring. Ethan Palzkill and Kyle Aiken will be on the wings. Joey Trank will also be in the mix, and Andrew Claunch is set at fullback. The Tigers tight ends are Max Connell and Isiah Gooden.

Most of those guys will also double-up on the defensive side of the ball. Binkley and Claunch will be keys at linebacker.

“We’ve got a lot of good athletes and a lot of people that have a good drive,” said Claunch. “We’re ready to play hard and to get some people.”

“These kids have improved tremendously,” said Boyer,  “And we’ve been really happy with the  progress they’re making.”

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