GENEVA – Batavia’s Ethan Compton recovered the second half kickoff against Geneva on Friday.
It wasn’t until about 11 minutes later that the Bulldogs figured most things – let alone the football – were bouncing their way in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division opener.
Batavia scored seven touchdowns in a 49-20 rout of its longtime rival, but only one of those scoring plays came with just 10 Bulldogs on the field. Geneva ostensibly owned a man advantage when the Bulldogs’ Anthony Moneghini scored from three yards out with 1:05 remaining in the third quarter.
“We had no idea. We were just so pumped up with adrenaline at that point,” Bulldogs junior right tackle Jack Breshears said. “We had no idea until after the play was done.”
Batavia (2-1, 1-0 UEC River) rebounded from last week’s home loss to Richards with 271 rushing yards against Geneva (1-2, 0-1).
The Vikings were in position to possibly draw within a touchdown in the closing minutes of the second quarter, but Forrest Gilbertson intercepted Geneva quarterback Daniel Santacaterina in the end zone on a ball that tipped off a Vikings wide receiver.
A pair of illegal motion penalties in goal-to-go situations preceded the turnover.
“Two motion calls out of the tailback,” Vikings coach Rob Wicinski said. “I can’t remember the last time that’s happened to me.”
Leading, 21-7, at halftime, Batavia recovered the second-half kickoff when Howie Morgano’s high kick angling down the right sideline took a funky backward bounce toward a sprinting Compton. The Bulldogs cashed in 30 yards and three plays later on a 2-yard Anthony Scaccia touchdown run.
“We’ve got a really, really good kicker in Howie Morgano, and we’ve been practicing that all week, just kicking away from their main guy back there,” Compton said. “Howie just placed it right there. Fortunately, it bounced up and I got it.”
Right place, right time was the story of the first half for Batavia quarterback Micah Coffey, who charged through running lanes as symmetrical as the cornrow pattern on his hair for touchdowns on each of Batavia’s first three possessions.
Favoring the right side of the Bulldogs’ offensive line, Coffey followed guard Mitch Krusz and Breshears for scoring runs of 1, 3 and 21 yards, helping Batavia grab a 21-0 lead with 11:49 to play in the second quarter.
Apparently, the Bulldogs’ front five still was feasting on leftover momentum from defensive coordinator Matt Holm’s team dinner speech Thursday.
“We just found the power and everything,” Breshears said. “We just stuck together and kept on going.”
The jelling line again was creating room for Batavia’s playmakers when the Vikings seized some much-needed momentum moments later. One play after Scaccia’s 47-yard run – again, down the right side – Vikings defensive back Matt Loberg darted in for an interception of Coffey.
Geneva transformed the turnover into a touchdown when Santacaterina visited the end zone on a 1-yard plunge 2:47 before halftime. After forcing a punt, the Vikings threatened to draw even closer to their century-old rival – Friday marked the schools’ 93rd meeting since 1913 – but then Gilbertson swooped in for the interception.
Scaccia finished with two total touchdowns, including a 22-yard screen pass from Coffey. Blake Crowder capped Batavia’s scoring with a 40-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter. Geneva’s T.J. Miller, who rushed for 162 yards, answered with a 59-yard TD less than a minute later, but it wasn’t enough to avoid a lopsided margin in Geneva’s in Geneva’s third straight loss in the series.
“You know what, we’re not ready, and I knew it. We’re just not ready to make that step,” Wicinski said. “I think I saw some nice baby steps out of the offensive line. I was really pleased with that. I know I’ve got some perimeter people. We continue to be tough there. Defense, we’ll have to go back and work and see what happened there.”
Batavia’s student section mirrored its muses’ aggressiveness throughout the night. The traveling Dog Pound chanted “I believe that we will win” after the first play from scrimmage, an eight-yard completion from Coffey to Michael Moffatt. The white-clad group busted out its first “We can’t hear you” only moments after Coffey’s first touchdown capped a 9-play, 60 yard drive in 4:13.
The chants stayed on Batavia’s side of the field until an overflow crowd dispersed. In between, the Bulldogs’ ability to weave through the traffic between the lines made the difference.
“This was a great team victory,” Compton said. “It’s a great Geneva football team.”
BATAVIA 49, GENEVA 20
Batavia 14 7 21 7 – 49
Geneva 0 7 7 6 – 20
HOW THEY SCORED
B – Coffey 1 run (Morgano kick), 7:47
B – Coffey 3 run (Morgano kick), 4:20
B – Coffey 21 run (Morgano kick), 11:49
G – Santacaterina 1 run (Browere kick), 2:47
B – Scaccia 2 run (Morgano kick), 10:33
B – Scaccia 22 pass from Coffey (Morgano kick), 7:38
G – Brown 10 pass from Santacaterina (Browere kick), 4:02
B – Moneghini 3 run (Morgano kick), 1:05
B – Crowder 40 run (Morgano kick), 11:51
G – Miller 59 run (kick failed), 10:57
RUSHING – Batavia: Scaccia 21-173, Coffey 6-37, Crowder 5-37, Moneghini 4-20, Acosta 2-4. Totals: 38-271. Geneva: Miller 20-162, Burns 8-36, Woodworth 4-12, Santacaterina 4-(-10). Totals: 36-200.
PASSING – Batavia: Coffey 10-17-164-1-1. Acosta 1-3-5-0-0. Geneva: Santacaterina 9-22-131-1-1.
RECEIVING – Batavia: Moffatt 5-87, Mullins 1-34, Scaccia 3-32, Zwart 1-11, Ingersoll 1-5. Geneva: Temple 4-68, Woodworth 1-37, Landi 2-11, Brown 1-10, Miller 1-5.
Total offense: Batavia 440, Geneva 331
Sophomore game: Batavia 27, Geneva 23