DIXON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) The Big Northern Conference race in football has been a tight one all season. Four teams have been battling for the top. Two of them, 5-2 Dixon and 7-0 Byron will meet Friday night in Dixon in our “Overtime” game of the week.
It’s Byron that’s been setting the pace in the conference since a week one win against Stillman Valley and a big win week four win against Genoa-Kingston, but G-K and Stillman have kept the heat on the Tigers. They’re only one game back.
“We can’t let up,” said Byron running back/linebacker Chandler Binkley. “If we want to win this conference, we’ve got to go 9-0. If we let up these teams behind us Genoa, Dixon, Stillman, they’re going to catch up to us.”
Dixon is most certainly a dangerous team especially with the spread offense the Dukes run led by quarterback Tyler Shaner. The Dukes are averaging 37 points per game.
“I think they’re very special and dynamic,” said Binkley. “They can create big plays really fast.”
“They’re doing a great job,” said Byron coach Jeff Boyer. “A great spread attack. They’re a good football team, so we’re going to be ready to go Friday.”
The Dukes held their conference fate in their own hands until losing last week to Genoa-Kingston. That’s left the Dukes two games behind Byron. A slow start last week cost the Dukes. Now they face a Byron team that plays a similar style to G-K.
“When you turn on the tape and you watch GK and Byron you might as well be watching mirror images of each other,” said Dixon head coach Jared Shaner. “Offensively their schemes are really, really, similar. Defensively the same thing.”
“Byron’s a very well-coached team,” said Dixon running back and linebacker Mitchell White. “We know their record shows it as well, but we know that they run similar things to Genoa, and we know that game was pretty close, so we think we have a good chance if we just come out and play a full game.”
“We’ve just got to approach it (the game) with confidence,” said Dixon receiver and defensive back Jacob Gusse. “Our coaches have prepared us really well, and we just have to go out and execute like we know we can.”
With the playoffs just around the corner, this game will have more of a playoff feel to it for the Tigers…a contrast to the blowout wins they’ve had the last three weeks.
“It’s going to help us get ready for the playoffs,” said Byron offensive tackle Nick Brass. “I’m really excited to see how our team responds to some better competition than what we’re used to.”
NOTE: For highlights of this game and more from around the Rockford area tune into “Overtime” Friday night on Fox 39. “Overtime” normally begins at 11 p.m. but due to the ALCS baseball game on Fox 39 the start time could slide a bit later. After the baseball games ends, a half-hour Fox 39 newscast will follow and then “Overtime” will follow that.