BATAVIA – The bar is so high for the Batavia football team that playing great football – not good football – is the weekly expectation.
The Bulldogs weren’t sure they achieved that Friday, but nonetheless were gratified to turn back a streaking St. Charles North team, 35-20, on senior night at Bulldog Stadium.
Ever since Batavia defeated DuPage Valley Conference power Glenbard North on opening night, simply winning games has not been the standard by which the Bulldogs (7-0, 4-0 UEC River) measure themselves.
“If we play like we did against Glenbard North every week, we know we can play with anyone in the state,” Batavia senior offensive lineman Adam Hunger said. “We haven’t played like that the past few weeks. We haven’t had to play like that but we know we need to. We’re going to pick it up in practice.”
Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron acknowledged his team has some fine-tuning to do ahead of next week’s critical conference matchup at St. Charles East, but still saw plenty to like against the North Stars (3-4, 3-2 UEC River), who had won three games in a row.
“They’re always a little bit disappointed when they don’t dominate somebody and don’t blow them out all the time but that isn’t going to happen,” Piron said. “These are good football programs. ... They were very well prepared for us tonight and it was a heck of a football game because of that.”
Batavia carried a modest lead much of the second half but took control when junior quarterback Micah Coffey scored on a 48-yard bootleg scamper with 5:49 left in the fourth quarter for the night’s final touchdown.
“We saw that they had been biting on certain fakes and they weren’t following me when I was carrying them on,” Coffey said. “That’s all [Tyler Miller] and [Anthony] Thielk and [Anthony] Scaccia setting that up, guys keying on them because they’re such great players, and then our linemen getting it done up front.”
Batavia kept North in check the rest of the way, quieting a visiting North Stars crowd that made plenty of noise as North remained in the hunt for an upset most of the night.
Even with a pair of key linemen – Wes Pasholk and Eric Giers – out with injuries, North coach Mark Gould thought the North Stars’ toughness allowed them to remain competitive.
“I think you come in and just say let’s see how we hold up, the whole team, all the way down the line, against Batavia,” Gould said. “And I thought the kids battled real well.
“That was the thing, we said we have to come in and play physical ... and let them know you’re going to play physical also.”
The game started in frenetic fashion as Batavia scored on its first two plays from scrimmage, both times capitalizing on short fields.
Batavia senior Marquise Jenkins blocked the punt that followed North’s game-opening possession and recovered the loose ball himself at the North 2-yard line. Scaccia (20 carries, 144 yards, two TDs) scored on the next play, and Dan Albrecht’s point after made it 7-0.
North answered back quickly on its ensuing possession – a 48-yard strike from Ryan Fischbach to Zach Kirby eventually set up the first of two George Edlund rushing touchdowns in the first half.
But Scaccia returned North’s subsequent kickoff to the North Stars’ 30, and Coffey hit Rourke Mullins for a TD on first down to make it 14-6 only four minutes into the game.
The teams traded scores in the second quarter as the Bulldogs took a 21-13 lead into halftime.
After the Bulldogs jumped ahead, 28-13, on Scaccia’s second touchdown run, North crept back within 28-20 on a 59-yard touchdown reception by Zach Kirby, who made most of his hay after the catch.
Kirby finished with 141 receiving yards on five receptions for North, which must defeat Larkin and South Elgin the next two weeks to have a shot at the postseason.
Batavia played the second half without Thielk, a two-way standout at running back and linebacker who was feeling ill during the game, Piron said.
Neither team turned the ball over Coffey finished 12 for 19 passing for 144 yards and rushed for 56 yards, while North’s Fischbach went 8 for 15 with 173 passing yards.
BATAVIA 35, ST. CHARLES NORTH 20 STCN 6 7 7 0 – 20 Batavia 14 7 7 7 – 35
HOW THEY SCORED
First quarter B – Scaccia 2 run (Albrecht kick), 10:00 STCN – Edlund 1 run (kick failed), 8:15 B – Mullins 30 pass from Coffey (Albrecht kick), 7:58Second quarter B – Thielk 1 run (Albrecht kick), 7:35 STCN – Edlund 3 run (Stutesman kick), 3:52Third quarter B – Scaccia 8 run (Albrecht kick), 9:22 STCN – Kirby 59 pass from Fischbach (Stutesman kick), 4:58Fourth quarter B – Coffey 46 run (Albrecht kick), 5:49
RUSHING – St. Charles North: Edlund 26-112, Fischbach 6-minus 17, Kurtz 3-6. Totals: 35-101. Batavia: Scaccia 20-144, Thielk 2-6, Miller 3-18, Coffey 5-56. Totals: 30-224.PASSING – St. Charles North: Fischbach 8-15-0-173. Batavia: Coffey 12-19-0-144.RECEIVING – St. Charles North: Kirby 5-141, Kaplan 2-20, Kurtz 1-12. Totals: 8-173. Batavia: Mullins 2-44, Scaccia 2-6, Thielk 1-13, Strittmatter 4-43, Moffatt 2-18, Berry 1-20. Totals: 12-144.TOTAL OFFENSE – St. Charles North 274, Batavia 368