Subject Line (article title)
Send to (required)E-mail
Send from (required)E-mail
Only once in the previous 94 meetings between Batavia and Geneva had the teams combined to score as many points as the 69 they put on the scoreboard Friday night in front of another standing-room-only crowd at Burgess Field.
Thanks to Micah Coffey, Anthony Scaccia and company, the Batavia half of that crowd got to do almost all the celebrating. The Bulldogs scored the first 21 points, then made two big plays to thwart the one chance the Vikings had at stealing back the momentum. Batavia put its foot back on the gas in the third quarter on the way to a 49-20 victory.
The win marked the third in a row for Batavia (2-1, 1-0 in the Upstate Eight Conference River Division) in the 95th meeting between the schools, a series Geneva leads 51-39-5. Only in the Bulldogs' 46-34 victory two years ago did fans see more points than Friday.
Coffey ran for three touchdowns and threw for another. He finished 10-of-17 passing for 163 yards.
"Just the swag they have, they are confident now," Geneva coach Rob Wicinski said. "They were good, I saw it on tape. They have an opportunity to do well. We're not quite there yet."
Compared afterward to NFL Hall of Famer Barry Sanders by Wicinski, Scaccia looked right at home zigging and zagging on Geneva's artificial surface. He ran for 183 yards on 21 carries and added 33 more receiving yards. He ran for a touchdown and took a screen pass in for another score.
"It's crazy," Scaccia said of the turf. "My cuts are so much quicker, so much more on the dime. I love it, love it."
Scaccia also loves an improving offensive line that opened the holes for 276 rushing yards and 443 yards of offense. Batavia coach Dennis Piron rotates as many as eight linemen, a group that included Connor McKeehan, Mitchell Krusz, Patrick Gamble, Jack Breshears and Max Heidgen.
"Our o-line improved so much over this past week," Scaccia said. "I had no doubt our o-line was going to take care of business and I thought that's where we won the game was up front. We have a lot of depth. They are young but they are picking it up quickly."
Batavia took the opening drive 65 yards in 10 plays. Coffey converted a fourth down from the Geneva 6 with a 5-yard gain, then punched it in on the next play. The Bulldogs converted both of their fourth downs and 6 of 10 third downs to keep drives moving all game.
After a 3-and-out — Geneva, conversely, converted just 3 of its 12 third downs — the Bulldogs went right back to work. Coffey's first five completions all went to Michael Moffatt for 85 yards, all in the first quarter, and that set up both a 2-yard Coffey touchdown run and then a 21-yard Coffey keeper up the middle that made it 21-0 Batavia with 11:49 left in the second quarter.
After Coffey's one mistake, an interception, Daniel Santacaterina got the Vikings on the scoreboard with his own 1-yard keeper. The Vikings quickly got the ball back and behind T.J. Miller's running found themselves with first and goal and chance to make it a 21-14 game at halftime.
Miller actually did find pay dirt from 6 yards out but the play was called back on a motion penalty on Miller. On the ensuing play Santacaterina's pass was deflected by Anthony Thielk and intercepted by Forrest Gilbertson.
"We were getting a good rush on the quarterback and I knew Thielk was going to get under the ball and I knew he was going to make a play and tip it up so I just backed off a little and it popped right in my hands," said Gilbertson who also delivered a crushing hit in the second half that forced a fumble.
That was the first of two backbreaking plays. The second came on the opening kick of the second half when Howie Morgano — 7 for 7 on extra-points — popped his kick toward the Batavia sideline that Ethan Compton hustled down and recovered. That opened the floodgates for a 21-point third quarter on Scaccia's 1-yard run, a perfect 23-yard screen pass from Coffey to Scaccia on a play Geneva blitzed two linebackers, and Anthony Moneghini' 3-yard run for a 42-14 lead going to the fourth quarter.
"Huge momentum and then you start to see body language, and we've got speed," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron, who praised his offensive line and also Moffatt's work at corner on Pace Temple (4 catches, 70 yards). "This is a big energy rivalry game and Geneva has played quality opponents well. I feel like we showed well. We executed. Our execution was exceptional on offense."
Blake Crowder capped Batavia's scoring with a 40-yard touchdown run to open the fourth quarter.
Santacaterina (9 for 23, 128 yards) tossed a 10-yard touchdown to Kyle Brown in the third quarter and Miller raced 59 yards for a score in the fourth. Miller ran for 169 yards on 20 carries.
"We're just not ready to make that step," Wicinski said. "I saw some nice baby steps on the offensive line. I know I've got some perimeter people. We're going to continue to be tough there. Defense we're going to have to go back and look at what happened there."