BATAVIA – Childhood memories tend to turn foggy after a few years, if they’re not forgotten altogether.
But there’s a certain late-November Saturday from his youth that Batavia senior quarterback Micah Coffey has little trouble recollecting.
As Coffey heads to DeKalb today to lead Batavia in this afternoon’s IHSA Class 6A state championship game against Richards, he might experience some flashbacks from seven years back, when he watched his big brother, Jordan, quarterback the Bulldogs in Batavia’s only other state final appearance in program history, a 30-20 loss to Normal in the 2006 Class 6A final.
The same opportunity awaits Micah today, although it comes at a different site and, the Bulldogs hope, will yield a different outcome than the 2006 title game.
“All those memories are so clear,” Coffey said. “Of the drive down, of seeing just the mass of cars leaving the neighborhoods and driving down to U of I. Pulling up and seeing our huge crowd down there.
“And then to the game, seeing Jordan warm up on the field, him going in and playing, his touchdown passes. Everything that went on is just super clear. I remember wearing his jersey that day and just how special that was.”
Jordan Coffey was a sophomore in 2006 and entered the game when senior QB Alex Schroeder was knocked out early in the second quarter with a shoulder injury.
Coffey isn’t the only current Bulldog who had family ties on the 2006 state runner-up.
Senior receiver/cornerback Rourke Mullins’ older brother, Blake, was a cornerback on the team, while Anthony Scaccia and Michael Moffatt had big brothers who were with Batavia’s sophomore team. Current Batavia assistant coach Bai Kabba also was on the sophomore team in ’06.
Like Coffey, Mullins was among the throngs of young Bulldog fans looking on with wonderment at Memorial Stadium.
“Me and Tucker Knox actually drove down with my parents together because we were best friends,” Mullins said. “We got our faces painted with my brother’s number on it, we were decked out in red and gold, shorts, long red and gold socks like we always did as kids. I was so excited for every game in my brother’s senior year. I would lose my voice because I’d yell and have fun in the crowd with my parents. But I would pay attention to every game, and especially that game.”
Even current Batavia players without family ties to the 2006 team spoke this week of trekking downstate to watch the game, following it on TV or, at a minimum, hearing stories in the years since – the core of Batavia’s coaching staff guided the 2006 Bulldogs, albeit in different roles.
Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron said photos from the 2006 title game have made the rounds via social media this week.
“A lot of these kids, you’ll see downstate as little kids, their hats and their Bulldog gear in ’06, they’re at the game, coming from the game, some of them in tears, upset we lost, but many just proud that we made it,” Piron said. “We’re proud we made it again.”
With a shorter state trip in store for the 2013 Bulldogs, the amount of elementary and middle school-aged Bulldogs supporters who will be hollering at Huskie Stadium figures to be even greater.
Years from now, what transpires today might just be one of their most enduring slices of childhood nostalgia.
Coffey looks forward to making some new memories today, but is glad that 2006 imagery has stood the test of time.
“As I grew up, I realized just how special that was, to be in a state championship game, just how special that was for the history of the school to be in that kind of a game,” Coffey said. “At that age I didn’t really understand that, but now I definitely do.”
• Jay Schwab is sports editor of the Kane County Chronicle. He can be reached at 630-845-5382 or firstname.lastname@example.org.