Byron loses heartbreaker in back-and-forth, record-breaking thriller

DEKALB, Ill. (WIFR) Byron let a 10-point fourth quarter lead slip away as Williamsville came back and scored 14 unanswered points to beat the Tigers 46-42 in the Class 3A state championship game at Huskie Stadium on Friday.

Byron (12-2) rushed for 449 yards, led by senior Isaac Stickler with 264 yards on 28 carries and four touchdowns. Senior Drake Snodgrass had 165 on the ground on 26 rushes and two touchdowns. The two teams combined for 1,072 total yards, a new IHSA record.

Byron quarterback Ben Carlson did not attempt a pass until the third quarter. The senior finished 4-6 for 68 yards.

Williamsville (14-0) quarterback Conor McCormick threw 335 yards on 17-23 passing and four touchdowns. Brendon Bishop led all receivers with a new Class 3A receiving record 230 yards on nine catches and three touchdowns, including the game-winner with 30 seconds to play. It's the Bullets first state championship in program history.

Byron had a chance to put the game away late in the fourth, up 42-39, but the Tigers elected to go for in on 4th & 6 from the Williamsville 12. Instead of attempting a field goal, Snodgrass took the pitch around the right side but was stuffed for a one yard gain and a turnover on downs.

The Bullets marched down the field, thanks to two big pass plays from McCormick to Noah Sanders for 21 yards, and one to Bishop for 30 yards down to the 18, setting up the game-winning play.

Byron lost the 3A state title game by four points for a second straight year.