Byron weaponry too much for Trojans to handle

Mendota’s Chris Sandoval puts a stick on Byron ball carrier Kaedon Welte on Oct. 4 at the MHS field. (Reporter photo)

MENDOTA – Byron’s arsenal of weaponry seems to never end. Year-after-year, outstanding players depart and more step in to replace them.

After coming within an eyelash of winning the Class 3A state championship last year, the Tigers seem locked and loaded for another long playoff run in 2019.

Byron’s potency was on full display in Mendota when it came to town and spoiled Homecoming for the Trojans, walking away with a 61-0 Big Northern Conference victory on Oct. 4 at the MHS field.

It took the Tigers (ranked third in Class 3A) a bit to get things in gear, but by the second quarter they were up to full speed. Byron scored a pair of first-quarter touchdowns and then exploded for five trips to the end zone in the second period to surpass the 40-point mark needed to deploy the running clock. That was in place for the entire second half.

Byron ran 41 plays from scrimmage and rolled up 513 yards. A majority of its yardage came on the ground (418). Meanwhile, Mendota had another difficult time when it had the football. The Trojans gained just 89 yards in 45 plays. If not for a 30-yard pass completion from Ted Landgraf to Andres Castaneda late in the game, the final offensive numbers would have been even less.

Mendota’s first five opponents this season have scored on their opening possession of the game and Byron made it six in a row. The Tigers accepted the opening kickoff and five running plays later, they were in the end zone. Byron covered 65 yards in the process, with Izaiah Shultz capping off the drive with a 3-yard touchdown run just 1:10 into the game. Mendota’s Cole Stremlau managed to bust through the Byron line to block the extra-point kick.

Mendota’s first series of the night resulted in a punt, and Byron took over at its own 19. The Tigers were a little slower in scoring this time, but nonetheless they did, traversing the 81 yards in just over four minutes, with Ian Palzkill plunging in from the 1-yard line at the 4:32 mark of the opening stanza. Aydin Lambert booted the extra point.

After another Mendota punt, Byron turned the ball over to the Trojans when Josiah Fetherston caught a pass from Ben Carlson, but Fetherston was stripped of the football and Stremlau recovered for the Trojans at the Tigers’ 43-yard line. Mendota advanced the ball to the Byron 26, but turned it over on downs.

The Tigers ran three plays and gained 9 yards, and chose to go for it on fourth-and-one from their own 35. Isaac Stickler got the call on fourth down and he ran 16 yards for a first down into Mendota territory. On the next play, Dayne Snodgrass covered the rest of the real estate when he rambled 49 yards for a touchdown. Lambert’s PAT kick made it 20-0.

Byron turned a pair of Trojan turnovers into points on Mendota’s next two offensive possessions. Palzkill recovered a Mendota fumble at the Trojan 25-yard line and Snodgrass scooted into the end zone from 8 yards out a minute later. Lambert split the uprights with the extra-point kick.

Then on Mendota’s ensuing series, Byron’s Joey Saviano stepped in front of a Landgraf pass and returned it 32 yards for a score. Lambert’s kick was good.

Byron put two more TDs on the board in the final five minutes of the half. Both came after the Trojans punted the ball back to the Tigers.

Fetherston hauled in a 47-yard TD strike from Carlson and then Snodgrass raced 77 yards to the end zone with just over a minute left before the break. Lambert was successful on both PAT kicks to make it 48-0 at intermission.

Byron added single touchdowns in the third and fourth frames. Leo Adami tallied on a 16-yard run at the 5:21 mark of the third quarter, followed by a Lambert kick.

Then as time ran out, Ryan Keller scored on a 15-yard touchdown run to complete the scoring.

The Trojans (0-6, 0-6) had 51 yards rushing in the contest. Cody Jenner picked up 21 yards, while Uzi Angulo gained 19. Landgraf completed two passes for 38 yards.

Snodgrass finished with 164 yards rushing on just seven attempts for Byron (5-1, 5-1). Fourteen Tigers had at least one carry in the game. Carlson connected on four passes for 95 yards.

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