Byron and Lena-Winslow only hours away from playing for state championships

High School Football

DEKALB, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –Byron and Lena-Winslow football fans are looking forward to a drive to DeKalb Friday like never before. They’re ready to cheer on their football teams as they battle for IHSA State Championships.

Byron will face Tolono Unity in the 3A championship game at 4 p.m. The Tigers came up just short in championship games in 2018 and 2019. The Tigers’ only state championship came in 1999 when current coaches Jeff Boyer and Sean Considine led the way as players.

Tolono Unity has never won a State Championship. The Rockets have finished second five times. The Rockets are 13-0 this season. The guy who makes them go is quarterback Blake Kimball. He has passed for almost 1,900 yards and he has rushed for more than 1,000 yards.

“No doubt about it, he is a very explosive player,” said Byron coach Jeff Boyer. “He can hurt you with the run. He can hurt you with the pass. He’s kind of a dual-threat guy. We’re going to have to keep him in check.”

“They’re definitely are a threat in the air, but I think they’ll try running it a lot more,” said Byron senior linebacker Andrew Claunch. “I think either way it’s just going to be a physical game.”

At 10 a.m. Friday in DeKalb Lena-Winslow will take the field for the Class 1A State Championship game. They’ll face Carrollton which is down near St. Louis. The Panthers will be going after the school’s fifth state championship in football. That would tie Stillman Valley for the most by a local school.

Carrollton has never won State. The Hawks did finish second one year. Just like Byron’s opponent, Carrolton has good balance on offense.

“They’ve got a great quarterback. They got an All-State quarterback and All-State receiver,” said Le-Win coach Ric Arand. “The quarterback is a big kid. They want to run it first and throw it second, but they’re capable of doing both.”

“Just watching film they’re pretty solid,” said Le-Win linebacker/tight end Brody Mahon. “They’re a solid team. It’s going to be a good game. Everything you can live up to in a championship game.”

NOTE: Watch for a recap of both games Friday night on the WTVO 17 and Fox 39 news.

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