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The Richards Bulldogs figured out the key ingredient needed to put an end to the Batavia Bulldogs' 20-game regular season winning streak.
"We've got some dudes on this team and they can play," Richards coach Tony Sheehan said after his powerful South Suburban Conference team topped host Batavia 31-26 on Friday night in nonconference action.
Dudes, indeed. Such as wide receiver Tacari Carpenter, who nabbed two touchdown passes, including a 78-yard backbreaker on the first play of the second half.
Or defensive back Dylan Jiles, who scooped up an Anthony Scaccia fumble on the Richards 10-yard line and scampered 90 yards for a touchdown that put his team up by 18 points late in the third quarter.
Throw in junior quarterback Hasan Muhammad-Rogers for good measure. Muhammad-Rogers threw four touchdown passes and completed 15 of 27 for 257 yards.
"They are very physical, athletic and hard-hitting and that's what we expected," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "This team (Richards) has skill at every position on the field, and their linebackers are phenomenal."
The Richards defense held Batavia to only 100 yards rushing and pressured quarterback Micah Coffey on several occasions, though the senior quarterback completed 21 of 37 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns, and rushed for another on a 1-yard plunge late in the game.
"We really do have athletes and we just get the ball in their hands and they can just make magic," Muhammad-Rogers said. "We just figure we can beat people with our speed and also with how good our defense is."
Batavia (1-1) got a sense of what the Richards speed was all about when Carpenter opened the scoring on a 10-yard slant into the end zone, but Batavia responded in the second quarter to take a 7-6 lead after Scaccia (18 carries, 72 yards) capped off an 82-yard drive with a 1-yard TD plunge.
The Bulldogs capitalized on a Richards miscue on the ensuing kickoff, as Ethan Compton recovered a high, but short, kick that no one else touched. Scaccia hauled in a pass over the middle, eluded two tacklers and went in for a 27-yard touchdown and a 13-6 lead.
Richards (2-0) tied the game before halftime when Spencer Tears made a leaping grab of a 29-yard pass in the end zone.
Unlike the season opener, when Batavia dominated Glenbard North in the third quarter, this time Richards smacked the Bulldogs with 18 unanswered points.
After Carpenter's shocking score in the opening seconds, Muhammad-Rogers found Ryan Willett over the middle for a 51-yard strike and a 25-13 lead. When Batavia drove from its own 35-yard line down to the Richards 10, the Bulldogs looked poised to pull within striking distance. But Jiles did the striking, knocking the ball loose from Scaccia and speeding down the field for the key scoring play in the game.
It left Batavia scrambling for a miracle comeback, which fell short. Coffey made it tighter by sneaking over from a yard out with 10 minutes left, but Richards milked the next six minutes by converting a fake punt on fourth down.
When Batavia did get the ball back, its next drive was halted by a Chrishawn Ross interception.
Batavia kept at it, marching 65 yards for a score on its final drive. Coffey hit four of six passes in the drive, finishing it off with a 12-yard scoring strike to Michael Moffatt with 17 seconds left.
When Batavia's onside kick attempt went out of bounds, the Bulldogs magical regular season win streak was part of history.
It was a tough night for both sides, with as many as seven Richards players succumbing to leg cramps. Batavia played without receiver Rourke Mullins, and wideout Jordan Zwart missed most of the second half with cramps.
"We fought until the end, as we always do," Piron said. "A couple of turnovers hurt us tonight, but I was proud of the effort.
"We just have to have a better week of practice and be ready for next week," said Piron, whose team travels to Geneva to open Upstate Eight River Division play. "Geneva is greatly improved and we'll have to be ready."