Batavia put the final touches on its third straight Upstate Eight Conference River Division championship Friday with a 62-14 win over Elgin, a pretty fitting final score given the gap between the Bulldogs and the rest of the River these past three years.
The Bulldogs (8-1, 6-0 in the UEC River) haven't lost a conference game in that three-year stretch, now at 19 straight River wins. They weren't even challenged in a conference game this year.
The closest margin of victory this year in the River turned out to be a 29-point win over Geneva. The final tally stands at 304-83, or an average of 51-14.
"They've played really good football over this time," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "It's a combination of things that can lead to that but mainly it's kids that work really hard and are goal-focused and driven on a regular basis."
Even those one-sided numbers above might not show the Bulldogs' dominance as they don't take into account the number of points Batavia allowed after taking its starters out.
Take Senior Night on Friday, for example. Quarterback Micah Coffey found himself on the bench a mere eight minutes into the game because by that point Batavia already lead 35-0.
That gave Piron plenty of time to get everyone playing time. Eleven different players carried the ball including senior Patrick Ward who ran a team-high 7 times for 62 yards and a touchdown.
"It's awesome, it's really fun, everyone on our team can make plays," said Ward who like the Bulldogs' other ball carriers had gaping holes to run through provided by the Bulldogs' offensive line.
"Those guys are all great," Ward said. "Every single one of them. They all can do their job. We play like we practice and we go hard all the time."
Elgin (0-9, 0-6) finished with its first winless season since 1935.
"Obviously we are very outmatched strength wise," Elgin coach Kyle Rohde said. "We have a lot of work to do in the off-season. The kids know that. They line up against a guy and he's benching 300 pounds and we're benching 100. That's a big difference."
Batavia needed just four plays on its first drive of the game, Coffey completing it with a slip screen to Rourke Mullins that turned into a 37-yard touchdown pass.
Fullback Kevin Green broke a 57-yard run on Batavia's next possession, then scored on a 6-yard run for a 14-0 lead. After Anthony Scaccia ran 9 yards for a score, Forrest Gilbertson blocked a punt to set up Coffey's 9-yard touchdown pass to Green.
Mullins scored his second touchdown on a 41-yard interception return making it 35-0 as Piron turned to junior Evan Acosta to relieve Coffey with four minutes still left in the opening quarter.
When Anthony Moneghini ran 19 yards for a touchdown and a 42-0 Batavia lead with 3:00 left in the opening quarter, the Bulldogs had scored five touchdowns in a span of just eight plays from scrimmage -- and one of those nonscoring plays was a 34-yard Scaccia TD run called back on a downfield holding penalty.
"It was a game that was a lot of fun and to their credit I think Elgin, despite the score, worked hard, got a score, their kids were great, they played hard and had a good spirit," Piron said.
It took 15 minutes after Moneghini's TD for the running clock to start. That came at the start of the third quarter with Batavia up 55-8 -- Acosta scoring on a pair of short runs in the second quarter countered by Dontrell Gaddy's 55-yard touchdown reception from Ryan Sitter.
Both teams scored once in the second half. Ward lunged across the goal line for a 9-yard touchdown run, and Johnny Higgins returned the following kickoff 75 yards for Elgin.
Sitter completed 22 of 44 passes for 196 yards. Gaddy hauled in seven of them for 87 yards.
"We played hard," Rohde said. "Our lower levels are starting to buy into what we're trying to do with grades and attendance and doing the right things. We're taking a step in the right direction. It's a process, it's going to take some time. I'm happy with the kids' effort. I think in a couple years we should be a team to be reckoned with."
Coffey attempted just three passes and Scaccia carried just four times for Batavia who will turn its attention to the playoff pairings Saturday night.
"I'm very proud of these accomplishments for now but this group of kids won't be satisfied with this," Piron said. "We'll see what happens next. We need to get ourselves in a competitive environment this week to get ready for the playoffs."
After repeating good history Friday with another outright UEC title, the Bulldogs want to make sure they don't repeat what happened in the first round of last year's playoffs with a loss to Downers Grove North.
"We're ready, we're coming back, we're not going to let that happen again that's for sure," Ward said. "We're ready to go. It's (last year's loss) still in all of our heads and we don't want that to happen again."