BYRON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) — After winning their first State Championship in football in nearly 22 years, the Byron Tigers are celebrating like it’s 1999.
Since their 35-7 victory on Friday night over Tolono Unity, the team has spent time with each other, but on Sunday afternoon they met in the school’s main gym for a community gathering to thank their Tiger faithful for all their support this season.
“Today’s more about giving back to everyone here at Byron when Friday and Saturday were more individually with our teammates and coaches,” said Chandler Binkley, Byron’s senior All-State Running Back. “Today’s more about giving back to the community of Byron and everyone enjoying it together.”
Winning a state title is enough of a reason to celebrate, but it was extra special for two members of Byron’s coaching staff, head coach Jeff Boyer and defensive coordinator Sean Considine, who were teammates together on the 1999 team.
“[I’ve] been waiting a long time to say this, and I know the community has as well. Byron Tigers. 3A State Champs,” Boyer said followed by a loud applause from the audience.
The Tigers went a perfect 14-0 with comeback, last second victories in two of their playoff games leading up to the State final. Their magical season doesn’t seem real, and still hasn’t sunk in for senior lineman Nick Brass.
“Honestly, it hasn’t set in,” said Brass. “Like, I know we won State, but it’s just the actual feeling that we’ve won state hasn’t really set in yet and I’m still in shock that we actually did it. First team since ’99 to do it, and coming up short the last couple years, it just feels great to be the team that finally did it.”
The ceremony was held up at the start as Boyer accidentally forgot the trophy at his house amid the ongoing celebrations. After running back to his house to get it, junior quarterback said he may have to give him a bit of a hard time for not being prepared.
“That might be one of the things we can joke with him about through the years, but that’s about the only thing.”