The Byron Center Bulldogs continue to impress people with their play each week of the season. This week, they knocked off the defending State Champions in Division 5 in Unity Christian. They were able to take home the 33-20 victory to improve to 8-0 on the season.
After a scoreless start to the first quarter, Byron Center was able to take the lead. With thirty seconds left in the first, Austin Vandermarkt ran it in from a yard out. He also kicked the extra point to give the Bulldogs a 7-0 advantage.
Mason Breit broke off a fifty four yard touchdown run to extend Byron Center’s lead. Vandermarkt’s extra point made it a fourteen point game. Unity Christian was able to draw closer as a result of a pair of field goals. Grant Balcer kicked field goals of twenty eight and forty five yards to put the Crusaders on the board. This made it a 14-6 game as the teams went to the locker room.
Vandermarkt got the scoring going once again in the third quarter. He ran three yards for the touchdown to push Byron Center’s lead out. Unity was able to draw back within seven by the end of the third when Isaac TeSlaa found Austin Schuiteman for an eighteen yard touchdown pass.
With just over nine minutes to play, Unity Christian was able to tie this football game. TeSlaa ran four yards to the end zone to put both teams at twenty. It would remain tied until the final seconds of the game, in which Byron Center would score two touchdowns.
Senior Brody Baker ran for an eleven yard touchdown with just five seconds left to give Byron Center a seven point lead. On the last ditch effort for Unity Christian, they fumbled the football. Byron Center’s Aiden Martell recovered the football and ran seven yards to give the Bulldogs a thirteen point margin of victory.
Vandermarkt was fantastic in this game for Byron Center. He had 200 yards and two touchdowns in the victory, in addition to kicking three extra points. Baker also topped the century mark as he finished this game with 107 yards and the game-winning touchdown. For Unity Christian, TeSlaa finished with eighty three rushing yards and two total touchdowns. Malekhi Obande also added 110 rushing yards for the Crusaders.
With the win, Byron Center is now 8-0 for the first time since 2000. They will try and get the school’s first undefeated regular season since 1952 when they face Holland next week. Unity Christian now finds themselves at 5-3 in 2019. They need to defeat Zeeland East, who is also 5-3, to lock up a playoff spot. There is a very good chance that the loser of that game could earn an at-large bid, but taking care of business eliminates any risk.