The Monticello Sages fumbled the football at the 3-yard line with four minutes left in the game and fell short agains Byron 21-20 in the second round of Class 3A IHSA football playoffs at Byron High School Saturday afternoon.
A wet and sloppy day, the Sages were knocking on the door of the end zone looking to get a go ahead score but a botched hand off resulted in a fumble and the Tigers ran out the clock and held on to advance.
Just like last week against North Boone, the Sages overcame deficits of 7-0 and 14-7 and took a 20-14 lead in the third quarter but the Byron offense controlled the clock and marched down the field and scored a game tying touchdown and converted the extra point in the fourth quarter and then picked up two first downs late to seal the win.
After a short touchdown run by Braden Snyder that put Monticello on top, the extra point was bobbled and the Sages could not convert.
Byron had two 100-yard rushers on the afternoon. Rick Messling led the way with 25 carries and 123 yards with a touchdown. Nolan Bielskis (bell-skis) added 101 yards on 21 carries with two touchdowns.
The Tigers only threw the ball twice.
Snyder finished 12 for 22 for 163 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions.
Asher Bradd had two catches for 47 yards and Johnny Dawson had three receptions for 42 yards.
Lucas Lieb, Nathan Harman and Snyder all found the end zone for the Sages on the ground.
Head coach of the Sages, Cully Welter, said after the game they knew Byron would be a touch opponent. They asked their team to give them everything they had and thought his players delivered.
An emotional Welter talked about the way the kids handled themselves this week and the way they handle themselves in the community.
The Sages wrap up their season 9-2 overall.
The next Monticello sports broadcast on 95.9 FM WEZC and at dewittdailynews.com will be November 14 for the girls basketball season opener at LeRoy.
Class 3A playoff scores:
Decatur St. Teresa 36
Bloomington Central Catholic 14
Class 1A playoff scores:
Brown County 13
Bridgeport Red Hill 36
Toledo Cumberland 0
Class 2A Score:
El Paso-Gridley 28
Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley 24
West Carroll 6
Class 4A scores:
Tolono Unity 18
Belleville Althoff Catholic 23
Country Club Hills Hillcrest 45
Chatham Glenwood 0
Rich Central 14
Peoria Richwoods 49
Decatur MacArthur 28
Aurora Marmion Academy 14
Springfield Sacred Heart-Griffin 45
Providence Catholic 33
Normal West 7
Normal Community 13
Chicago Mt. Carmel 14