BATAVIA – Batavia assumed the victory formation as Friday’s first half against St. Charles East ended, content to sit on a huge lead after recovering a Saints fumble.
The Bulldogs will tell you anything could have happened in the final 24 minutes of running-clock Upstate Eight Conference River Division football. The truth was, the outcome settled in for both sides sometime during Batavia’s first-half explosion.
Batavia dominated from the get-go, visiting the end zone on each of its first five possessions. East countered with four punts and a turnover on downs in the same span. Yup, Batavia’s swagger about told the tale of Bulldogs 47, Saints 14.
“It’s a lot of motivation for us when we get three-and-outs and the offense scores, and then we get three-and-outs and the offense scores,” Bulldogs junior defensive end Josh Leonhard said. “Everybody gets everything going.”
Batavia (7-1, 5-0 UEC River) clinched at least a share of its third straight conference title in a flash against East (5-3, 3-2).
None of Batavia’s six first-half scoring drives lasted longer than 2:53. Four scoring drives came in the first quarter, when the Bulldogs gained 263 yards on 17 plays.
“I think a lot of it is the mentality,” Saints senior wide receiver/defensive back Brannon Barry said. “They’re good and they believe that they’re good, and we know we’re good, too. And we believe that we’re good, but we’ve just got to work on executing, executing our assignments and executing our jobs. Because the game plan and everything is there. We’ve just got to execute better.”
Shifty Bulldogs senior Anthony Scaccia starred throughout the first quarter, scoring on runs of 41 and 8 yards while grabbing a touchdown reception of 44 yards off a Micah Coffey bootleg. Scaccia’s first TD, on the opening drive, came on fourth-and-1, moments after the Saints earned a stop for no gain.
“Oh, man, when you see Scaccia just running up the field doing what he does, there’s nothing like it,” Batavia junior center Patrick Gamble said. “That’s why we do what we do. It’s unreal. It’s awesome.”
Scaccia, who added a fourth TD in the second quarter – Batavia led, 40-0, at halftime to trigger the running clock – naturally credited a deep rotation of offensive linemen. The unit is rallying behind the recent season-ending injury to guard Mitchell Krusz and in addition to freeing Scaccia helped Coffey throw for three first-half touchdowns.
But, true to the form of “BULLDOGS” appearing on the back of Batavia’s jerseys instead of players’ names, Scaccia brought the whole group into his success.
“We worked on certain things throughout the week and we executed it well. We had a great week of practice, so it was easy to come out here and execute what we’ve been doing,” he said.
About the only thing to go wrong for Batavia in the first half was a point-after miss and block.
East coach Mike Fields conceded “a good, old-fashioned butt-kicking” and promised the playoff-eligible Saints would return to work this week in a bid to seal a postseason bid with a sixth victory at Larkin.
Limited to 217 yards of offense – much of it after halftime – East scored the final 14 points. Jimmy Mitchell had a 17-yard scoring run with 5:05 to play before connecting with A.J. Washington for a 10-yard scoring pass in the final minute.
“Those are late-game scores that we wish we could have had in the beginning of the game, but the fact is that our guys came out in the second half and we didn’t quit on ourselves,” Barry said. “We didn’t come out and say this game’s already lost. We came out and said we’re going to get better in the second half and we’re going to prove that we are a playoff-eligible team, and we’re not a team that’s just going to kick the dirt and say, ‘No, we’re done with this game.’ It’s a four-quarter game. We’re going to come out and act like it.”
BATAVIA 47, ST. CHARLES EAST 14
St. Charles East 0 0 0 13 – 13
Batavia 28 12 0 7 – 47
HOW THEY SCORED
B – Scaccia 41 run (Morgano kick), 9:06
B – Scaccia 8 run (Morgano kick), 4:01
B – Scaccia 44 pass from Coffey (Morgano kick), 1:39
B – Moffatt 14 pass from Coffey (Morgano kick), 0:10
B – Scaccia 26 run (kick failed), 8:25
B – Frazier 10 pass from Coffey (kick blocked), 0:12
B – Clark 12 run (Morgano kick), 9:47
S – Mitchell 17 run (Anderson kick), 5:05
S – Washington 10 pass from Mitchell (Anderson kick), 0:33
RUSHING – St. Charles East: Anderson 8-18, Mitchell 8-8, Lopez 3-5, Barry 1-1. Totals: 20-34. Batavia: Scaccia 12-149, Crowder 5-29, Green 2-19, Clark 1-12, Ward 1-2, Coffey 3-(-3), Acosta 1-(-17). Totals: 24-191.
PASSING – St. Charles East: Mitchell 12-29-183-1-0. Batavia: Coffey 15-18-193-3-0. Acosta 4-8-36-0-1.
RECEIVING – St. Charles East: Anderson 3-53, Munroe 3-38, Flanigan 2-32, Lopez 2-30, Washington 2-30. Batavia: Zwart 3-74, Scaccia 3-46, Moffatt 3-25, Berry 2-20, Mullins 2-18, Knox 2-18, Ingersoll 1-16, Frazier 1-10, Green 1-2.
Total yards: Batavia 420, St. Charles East 217