Byron ready to take on IC Catholic in semifinal matchup of football powers

High School Football

BYRON, Ill. (WTVO/WQRF) –When you reach the state semifinals in football you need to have your big-boy pants on because you know the team lining up across from you will be special. That will be the case for the Byron Tigers Saturday when they take on Elmhurst IC Catholic in Class 3A.

IC (Immaculate Conception) Catholic won three consecutive state championships from 2016 through 2018. The Knights have won five state titles overall. This year they’re 11-1 and champions of the Metro Suburban Blue Conference.

This is the team that knocked DuPec out of the second round of the playoffs two weeks ago 35-12.  IC Catholic will be the most athletic team the Tigers have faced this season.

“There’s no doubt about it. They’re a great team, and we’re going to have to play great football to beat them,” said Byron head coach Jeff Boyer.

“It’s really exciting. We don’t get this opportunity very often,” said Byron lineman Nick Brass. “I’m just excited to see what our team can do to some new challenge.”

In the DuPec game, the Knights were successful getting the football to their athletes in space and letting them pop big plays with their speed.

“We feel like they want to run the football,” said Boyer, “but exactly what you said is, they’re going to get their kids in space, and the hard part about defending them is they have so many different weapons to defend.”

That includes two all-state receivers.

“Them passing and moving the ball quick, it’s just dangerous against defenses,” said Byron lineman Jake Lenz. “We’re going to try to stop that the best we can.”

Byron and IC Catholic have a little bit of history between them. They met in the semifinals in 2017 at Byron. IC Catholic scored the only points of the game on a 12-yard touchdown run by quarterback CJ West with only 12 seconds to play for a 7-0 IC-Catholic win.

“That was a heart-breaking loss,” recalled Boyer.

“We’ve got a little grudge against them now after last time we got beat,” said Lenz.

The Tigers have shown in recent years and just last Saturday against Reed-Custer that they can handle just about anything that comes their way. They’ll give it another go tomorrow in Elmhurst.

“This group has done a great job of coming out ready to play every single game,” said  Boyer. They’re very coachable, great to work with. Their hard work is paying off now.”

That’s a four o’clock kickoff Saturday afternoon in Elmhurst.

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