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Top-ranked Byron runs roughshod over Rockets

No taming the Tigers

ROCK FALLS – Rock Falls was hoping to spin an amazing tale of taming a bunch of Tigers, but it became apparent very soon that was not going to happen.

Byron, the state’s No. 1-ranked team in Class 3A, put on a dominating performance on its way to a 52-6 victory on Friday at
Hinders Field.

The Tigers (3-0, 3-0 Big Northern) scored on all eight of their possessions, including two in the second half by reserves. Byron’s starters built a 40-0 halftime lead and did not play in the second half.

“It’s always good to come out on Friday night and get a win,” Byron coach Jeff Boyer said. “We’ve still got to cut down on penalties, but I thought offensively and defensively, we played pretty well. I was happy.”

Byron racked up 415 rushing yards on just 31 carries, a gaudy 13.3 average. Thirteen different players had carries for the Tigers, and they had plenty of room to roam thanks to a dominant offensive line.

Left tackle Tyler Elsbury, left guard Peyton Lind, center Zach Lenz, right guard Kevin Claunch and right tackle Erick Hernandez, along with tight ends Colton Ingram and Blake Eder, created massive gaps in the Rock Falls defense the first 24 minutes.

“We preached this week winning in the trenches – that’s a big thing for us,” the 6-foot-5, 295-pound Elsbury said. “We take pride in that. Running the ball all of the time, only passing a few times, we really do take pride in that. The running backs give us credit, but we like to throw it back to them. They had an amazing game, too.”

Rock Falls coach Steve Disler agreed that Byron was simply too much to handle at the point of attack.

“It was a difference up front,” Disler said. “They’re a little bit stronger than us, a little bit bigger, but that’s something we’re going to build in the future. In the next couple of years, we’re going to get bigger and stronger and be able to compete.”

Isaac Stickler paced the Byron attack with six carries for 130 yards, including touchdown runs of 74 and 19 yards. He also caught a 20-yard TD pass from Ben Carlson. Tyler Camling gained 62 yards on just three carries, with touchdown runs of 32 and 7 yards.

Rock Falls (0-3, 0-3) avoided a shutout when Keyon Wolber caught a 54-yard TD pass from Cade Nailor early in the fourth quarter.

Nailor completed 4 of 15 passes for 73 yards. Xzavier Epps led the ground game with 16 carries for 42 yards. The Rockets had 28 carries for 53 yards overall.

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