Byron halts Lisle's most successful season in years
BYRON -- Although Lisle came out on the short end of the score Saturday in Byron, coach Paul Parpet Sr. wasn't about to label the football season anything but a success.
The Lions finished 10-2 after winning the Interstate Eight Conference Small Division with an undefeated record for the first time in 28 years.
Byron, behind its three-pronged running attack, rolled 49-7 in the Class 3A quarterfinals at Everett Stine Stadium, but that didn't diminish what the Lions accomplished throughout the year.
"We had a very successful season," Parpet said. "We did some things that Lisle hasn't done in years. I'm very proud of them.
"The only way you'd be happy is if you win the whole thing. I'll take this every single year."
Lisle drove deep into Byron territory on the game's first possession only to turn it over. The Tigers then drove 88 yards for a score, and things started to go downhill from there.
Byron broke the game open with 2 touchdowns 18 seconds apart in the second quarter.
Lisle quarterback Jay McGrath completed 10 of 20 passes for 175 yards and a touchdown. He also was the Lions' leading rusher with 39 yards despite being sacked three times. Demetrius Kellie caught three of those throws for 94 yards, including the touchdown.
Trailing 27-0 at halftime and with Byron moving the ball again, the Lions found some life after recovering a Byron fumble. McGrath quickly drove them 54 yards, completing passes of 18 yards to Michael Walker and 36 to Kellie for the score.
But that was as close as the Lions could get. Byron continued to pound away with the ground game, rolling up nearly 400 rushing yards. The Tigers rotated three tailbacks all season and Saturday was no exception. Ricky Messling, Drake Snodgrass and Isaac Stickler all went over 100 yards rushing. Messling and Stickler each scored 2 touchdowns.
Byron led just 7-0 before Stickler scored his first TD. Then, two plays later, Tanner Klein picked off a McGrath pass and raced 44 yards into the end zone. Aydin Lambert's extra point made it 21-0.
The Lions made quite an impression on their opponent.
"They're a great team," said Byron coach Jeff Boyer. "They still are. We played well today, but I thought they present a lot of problems. The McGrath kid is a good player, and the Walker kid at running back and then the Kellie kid at wide receiver. I have nothing but good things to say about them and coach Parpet and what they've done with that program."
The Tigers will face Herscher, which defeated Monmouth-Roseville 24-20, in the Class 3A semifinals.