CHAMPAIGN — The Monticello High School football team took home its first state title and made some history along the way.
A Class 3A state championship game record 95-yard touchdown pass from Braden Snyder to Alek Bundy was the first strike in the Sages' 24-20 win against Byron on Friday at Memorial Stadium in Champaign — practically a home game for nearby Monticello.
Sages coach Cully Welter became the second coach in IHSA football history to win state titles at two schools. He won three state titles as coach of Aledo in 1998, 2001 and 2002.
Welter began coaching Monticello in 2009 and has led the Sages to the playoffs in all 10 seasons. This was the school's first state championship game appearance. Monticello had lost all six of its previous semifinals appearances before beating Carlinville 40-14 last Saturday.
The Sages finished the season 14-0 and didn't have a game closer than three touchdowns until the championship game, in which Byron threatened to take the lead late.
“I thought that was a great game to be a part of win or lose," Welter said. "Byron is an incredible team. We certainly did not stop them. We were very fortunate to get the win. I’m proud of the way our kids played and hung in there throughout the entire game."
Bundy scored three touchdowns and had a fourth-quarter interception on a halfback pass that sealed the game for the Sages.
“I saw him go out and knew it was my guy," Bundy said. "The ball was up in the air and I was just thinking I needed to do something to get the ball back for our offense."