ROCHELLE — It was special – in a lot of ways.
Monday night, which was Labor Day, the Rochelle Township High School football team pounded out a 22-6 win over Byron in a special freshman B game in Rochelle.
Unlike regular football games, the game was played without special teams, meaning there were no kickoffs, punts or extra points. Both halves started on a team’s 35-yard line, a punt automatically went for 30 yards and any touchdown was followed by a two-point conversion attempt.
According to Rochelle Head Coach John Gonzalez, the purpose was to give the teams a chance to work on other parts of their game. That was mainly blocking and running since the Hubs only attempted one pass, one less than their visitors.
Rochelle opened the scoring when Xavier Villalobos took a handoff from quarterback Carson Lewis, broke through the Byron line and outsprinted the rest of the field for a 65-yard touchdown.
Byron tied the game on their next possession on a three-yard run by Alex Salazar, following a 45-yard run by Dylan Shank. Shank would have scored, except he was pulled down from behind right before the goal line.
Like the Hubs, their two-point conversion went for naught.
Rochelle scored what turned out to be the winning touchdown when Grant Bensler broke off a 60-yard run midway through the third quarter. Brandon Metzger then converted the two-point conversion.
Rochelle completed the scoring late in the final quarter when Logan Johnson scored from six yards out.
For Gonzalez, that wasn’t what made the game special.
“Everyone got to play,” he said, adding that they have more games like this scheduled. “We’re looking forward to doing this again.”