The Byron Center Bulldogs won their season opener against Birmingham Seaholm. Last week, they were without a game, as their opponent was sidelined due to COVID. When they faced another week without a game for another COVID cancellation, Coach Marc Cisco’s club hit the road. They crossed the state line to face Elkhart High School, a 6A school in Indiana. It was an absolute thriller, but in the end, the Bulldogs won in double overtime, 35-28.

Byron Center struck first in this game, as Hunter Schichtel fired a 15-yard touchdown pass to Brady BreitCaden Balkon‘s extra point gave the Bulldogs a 7-0 lead. Elkhart responded with a 19-play, 80-yard touchdown march that was capped off by a Gavin Houser touchdown plunge of 1-yard.

Elkhart took the lead in the second quarter, when Brady Krueper and Rodney Gates connected on a 34-yard touchdown strike. The lead wouldn’t last long, as Trevor Walter went 4 yards for a Byron Center score, evening the count at 14 as the game went to halftime.

The offense slowed in the second half, with each team scoring just one touchdown. Jason Sevigny got Byron Center out in front with a third quarter touchdown that covered 8 yards, capping off an 11-play, 68-yard march. In the fourth quarter, Elkhart forced overtime with a score of their own. Gavin Houser scored for the second time, this run covering 3 yards on his way across the goal line.

The Elkhart Lions started with the football in the first overtime. On third and goal, it was Gavin Houser again that delivered. His 1-yard touchdown, paired with Pedro Velasquez‘ extra point, gave Elkhart a 28-21 lead. Byron Center took three plays to respond, as Jason Sevigny reeled off a touchdown run. Caden Balkon’s extra point sent this game to second overtime.

Byron Center struck again in the second overtime period, as Trevor Walter powered through the Elkhart defense for a 2-yard score. Balkon’s extra point pushed the Bulldogs ahead by seven, putting pressure on Elkhart. The Lions made forward progress on their first three plays, but they faced a fourth down at the two yard line. They handed the ball off to Gavin Houser, but Colson Conrad stopped him just short of the end zone, ending this football game.

Hunter Schichtel was 9/14 passing in this game, tallying 86 yards. He also added 66 yards on the ground. Jason Sevigny led the rushing attack with 70 yards for Byron Center. Brady Breit, who caught Schichtel’s touchdown pass, paced the receivers with 72 yards. Trevor Walter (15), Preston Sisson (15) and Colson Conrad (14) led the stout defensive effort for the Bulldogs.

Brady Krueper was 8/14 passing for Elkhart, racking up 79 yards. Aalisa Leonard paced the running backs with 103 yards, while Gavin Houser added 73. Rodney Gates had 69 of the team’s receiving yards.

Next week, Byron Center (3-0) will officially begin OK White play against East Grand Rapids. Elkhart (2-2) will travel to Penn next Friday in a Northern Indiana Conference East-West Division battle.