GENOA, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF)–Few high school football programs in recent years have had more success than Byron and Genoa-Kingston have had. Last year alone Byron won a state championship in Class 3A, and Genoa-Kingston reached the 4A state quarterfinals. Every season they look forward to squaring off with each other. That will happen again Friday night in Genoa in our ‘Overtime’ game of the week.

If there’s one word that best describes what a Byron-G-K game is like it’s physical.

“It’s going to be a physical football game,” said Byron head coach Jeff Boyer who has been a part of many of these matchups over the years as a coach and a player.

“It’s always about the O-line and D-Line. How big of a push they get,” said Genoa-Kingston running back Ethan Wilnau.

The Tigers won last year in a defensive struggle 7-3. A lot of the recent games between these two schools have been low scoring.

“I know we scored on the first drive, and we managed to move the ball last year, and we ran a lot of plays. We just didn’t punch it into the end zone last year,” said Boyer. “Hopefully, this year that will change.”

Byron has won its last two games convincingly after dropping its opener in overtime at Stillman Valley.

“That’s definitely motivated us,” said Byron senior quarterback Braden Smith. “Obviously, we came off a really, good year last year. It think it helped us understand last year was last year. We’ve got to forget about it.”

“It was definitely an eye-opener for us,” said Byron linebacker James Cone of the Stillman Valley loss. “After that game we really, really had to get dialed-in.”

The Cogs have won all three of their games so far this season over Winnebago, Lutheran and North Boone. They’ll be without starting quarterback Nolan Perry. He suffered a broken tibia two weeks ago. Sophomore Nathan Kleba has taken his spot.

“Nathan’s done a great job, stepped up,” said G-K head coach Cameron Davekos. “He shows that he’s calm and collected, and he’s doing everything that we can ask for.”

Genoa’s offense is averaging more than 39 points per game this season. Byron’s defense is giving up only nine points per game.

“They’ve definitely got some speed at the running back position,” said Smith. The quarterback can throw it a little bit. Their line is strong as well. They’ve always been a defensive-minded team.
“Byron week is always a different intensity,” said Wilnau. “We know how good of a team they are. No dogging it this week.”

“We know that the defending state champs are coming to our building,” said Davekos.”

“There’s definitely something in the air. Everybody knows it’s Byron week,” added G-K running back Brody Engel.”

“It’s going to be a good game,” said Cone, “So we’re excited about it.”

Watch for highlights of the game Friday night live at 11 p.m. on ‘Overtime’ on Fox 39 and also here on Mystateline.com