Batavia football coach Dennis Piron wishes a few of his players had been more up-front, sooner, about some of their health/injury concerns after the season’s first couple games.
With marquee matchups for the Bulldogs each of the first three weeks of the season, Piron said there were cases in which players who probably should have sat out elected to keep their conditions to themselves and keep playing.
“Whether they don’t want to tell us as coaches or they want to play against those schools, it kind of caught up with them a little bit,” Piron said.
A handful of Batavia players were not dressed for Saturday’s 56-14 romp at winless Streamwood, including defensive starters Anthony Thielk, James Millette, Brandon Dean and Donovan Kilker. Dean has experienced concussion symptoms, Piron said.
“Anthony [Thielk] probably shouldn’t have played maybe [Week 3 at Geneva] but he felt it was important in that Geneva game that he was out there,” Piron said. “James Millette has had a shoulder that had been bugging him, got hit kind of funny in the Geneva game, some kid kind of came down on him a little late. I wasn’t too sure about the hit, but he got hurt.
“Some of our depth guys, too, are just banged up. … We had kind of a rash of things. Nothing in practice, all in games or unrelated, like health things that just popped up.”
Piron said it’s “hard to say” if some of the players might miss more than one week, but with a second straight winless foe – West Chicago – on the schedule Friday, the Bulldogs (3-1) have the luxury of taking a conservative approach without having to pay much of a price.
“I think we want them to get 100 percent first,” Piron said.
Second-stringers get their chance
With so many Week 4 blowouts, mass substitutions were the norm for area teams, including at the quarterback position.
East senior Mitch Dupuis made the most of his chance in the fourth quarter Friday at Neuqua Valley, throwing a 47-yard touchdown pass to A.J. Washington after relieving Saints starter Jimmy Mitchell in the Saints’ 54-28 loss.
“It was a nice opportunity to get Mitch out there and get him some reps with the first group,” East coach Mike Fields said. “It was a success for us in that regard. It was a positive thing for him, and I think we can build on that.
“And Jimmy had a great game. I don’t think Jimmy did anything wrong. He did a lot of positive things, but it’s always good to get your backup some reps under a little [game] pressure like that. So I think that was a positive for us, and that will help us down the road, I guarantee it.”
Batavia left-handed QB Evan Acosta played the entire second half – albeit under a running clock – after Bulldogs starting QB Micah Coffey completed his final 12 passes in Batavia’s thrashing Saturday of host Streamwood.
Geneva has a quirky statistic to start its season, owning a 2-0 road record and an 0-2 home mark through four weeks.
That’s a trend Geneva would love to change Friday, when Upstate Eight Conference River opponent St. Charles North comes calling.
Geneva’s home woes aren’t surprising considering the caliber of opponents – Wheaton North and Batavia – that visited Burgess Field in the early going. The Vikings’ road wins came against Oswego and Larkin.
– Jay Schwab, email@example.com
IN THE GROOVE
Geneva, Sr., RB
What he did: Miller rushed 31 times for 207 yards to help push Geneva over the top in Friday’s back-and-forth, 41-34 Upstate Eight Conference River win at Larkin. Miller has rushed for 370 yards during the past two games, counting his Week 3 output in a loss to Batavia.
St. Charles East, Sr., H-back
What he did: Hopper caught 10 passes for 113 receiving yards and two touchdowns in the Saints’ UEC crossover loss Friday at Neuqua Valley.
WHAT WE LEARNED FROM LAST WEEK
Tri-Cities area teams are quite capable of rolling the running clock.
Batavia (over Streamwood), Kaneland (over Streator) and St. Charles North (over Elgin) weren’t shy about putting major beat-downs on the opposition in a week that featured an unusual number of lopsided matchups.
WHAT WE’LL LEARN IN THE WEEK AHEAD
Whether St. Francis can bounce back from a humbling loss to Montini.
The Spartans gave a subpar performance in Friday’s 30-7 loss to Montini, falling for the first time this season. St. Francis will need to be much sharper to avoid a second straight loss this week with 4-0 Aurora Christian coming to town.
COACH SLY SAYS
Kudos to Reece Conroyd on his achievement of setting St. Charles North’s all-time tackles record, and also for his mature approach to the record.
Conroyd said after the game that all he cares about is making the playoffs, rarified air he’s yet to experience in a North Stars uniform.
Sly thinks Conroyd and Co. will probably get that chance before all is said and done this season, but his priorities are in the right place. Regardless, breaking North’s tackles record is a feather in Conroyd’s hat – er, helmet – that shouldn’t be overlooked.
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