GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Byron Center football team won a Division 2 district title last week in dramatic fashion.
The Bulldogs claimed a district crown for the first time since 2016 as quarterback Landon Tungate tossed a touchdown pass to Isaac Lee on the game’s final play to stun Caledonia, 31-28.
“A great win for our kids over an experienced playoff team,” Byron Center coach Marc Cisco said. “We had some hiccups, but it was outstanding work by our defensive staff because they had us prepared.
“I thought our team was very physical throughout the game. You have to answer their size in the run game with physical play, and I thought our kids did that. It was an awesome high school game and an awesome win for our school and community.”
Byron Center (10-1) will try to bring the momentum from its comeback victory into Friday’s regional final at East Lansing (9-2).
It will be the Bulldogs’ third straight postseason road game.
“(The East Lansing Trojans) have won nine in a row since losing to Portage Central and Hudsonville to start the season,” Cisco said. “And it’s no coincidence that running back Jace Clarizio returned in Game 3 and they got their quarterback position settled where Ben Fletcher has played very well in the playoffs.
“They have a big receiver (Charlie Baker), who makes big plays for them and they do a great job with schemes on offense to get those guys loose.”
East Lansing defeated Lakeland last week 35-7 to win a district title. Cisco pointed to the Trojans’ defense as a point of emphasis.
“You can see their speed and physicality,” he said. “They have defensive players all over who can create problems with speed and toughness.”
Byron Center has won 10 games for only the fourth time in school history and is seeking its first state semifinal appearance in school history.
The Bulldogs’ lone loss was to Lowell in Week 6, 38-28.
CATHOLIC CENTRAL COUGARS (10-1) AT WEST CATHOLIC FALCONS (11-0)
A highly-anticipated clash between two former City League rivals will take place on Friday night with a spot in the Division 5 state semifinals at stake.
The two perennial powerhouses and champions in their respective conferences have combined for multiple state championships in the past decade, with West Catholic winning a Division 6 state title and Catholic Central winning its last in 2021.
The Cougars won three straight from 2019 to 2021, while the Falcons won five consecutive from 2013 to 2017.
Catholic Central has won 10 straight games since losing its season opener. West Catholic has won 18 consecutive games and hasn’t lost since Week 7 of last season against Fruitport.
Two years ago, the Cougars routed the Falcons 44-6 in a Division 5 district final.
This will be the 53rd meeting all-time with Catholic Central holding a 31-19-2 edge. West Catholic’s last win against the Cougars came in 2016.
Here are the other regional finals involving local teams:
- Division 1: Davison at Rockford (6 p.m. Saturday)
- Division 2: Saginaw Heritage at Muskegon (1 p.m. Saturday)
- Division 3: Gaylord at Forest Hills Central (7 p.m. Friday)
- Division 3: Zeeland West at Parma Western (1 p.m. Saturday)
- Division 4: Big Rapids at South Christian (7 p.m. Friday)
- Division 6: Bullock Lake at Reed City (7 p.m. Friday)
- Division 7: Pewamo-Westphalia at North Muskegon (1 p.m. Saturday)
*Correction: A previous version of this article misstated the date and time of the Rockford game. We regret the error, which has been fixed.