They did it.
In an electrifying 34-14 victory, the Batavia Bulldogs football team earned the IHSA Class 6A state title over Richards on Nov. 30.
The win capped a riveting season for the Batavia football program, which saw only one loss during its entire run this year. And just to heighten the state championship drama, the Bulldogs played the only team they lost against during their entire season – Richards.
It’s the stuff movies are made of.
“I’m so proud of everyone who took it upon themselves and took such great pride in this community,” Batavia senior quarterback Micah Coffey said after the state win. “You know, we wanted to bring this championship home. It’s an amazing feeling to know that we did.”
The state football championship – the first in Bulldogs history – speaks to the success of Batavia’s grassroots football system, which starts at the youth level. It confirms how having longtime high school program leaders, such as head coach Dennis Piron and offensive coordinator Mike Gaspari (a former longtime head coach of the Bulldogs), can positively impact a team.
And, in a more broad sense, the state win shows how athletics can bring a community together.
“The emotions were flowing so strongly,” said Mayor Jeff Schielke of the football team’s celebratory return home Saturday night after the big game. “It spoke to the heart of what this town is all about.”
Perhaps “All In” was the perfect motto for the Bulldogs to embrace this season. The team won it all, and – in the process – synergized a community of students, parents, teachers, business owners and fans.