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Batavia's football success makes it tempting to look ahead in the Class 6A playoff bracket. Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron made sure that doesn't happen.
"In our locker room we have a bracket," he said. "We taped over the bracket. On our bracket the only thing you see is Batavia versus DeKalb."
Though many of Batavia's seniors have lost three games in three seasons -- to Prairie Ridge in the 2011 6A semifinals, to Downers Grove North in last year's Class 7A opener and to Richards this year in Week 2 -- No. 2 Batavia (8-1) is focusing fully on the No. 15 seed Barbs (5-4).
There are two very good reasons. They are named Dre Brown and Jack Sauter.
DCPreps.com lists quarterback Sauter with 881 yards rushing for 13 touchdowns to go along with 597 yards and 4 touchdowns -- but 5 interceptions. He sets up in a spread that runs misdirection, jet sweep, option and more.
Brown, a 6-foot, 195-pound junior, has offers from Illinois, Northern Illinois, Kent State and Toledo, according to 24/7 Sports.com. He's run for 1,284 yards and 17 touchdowns, averaging 8.9 yards a carry.
DeKalb, last in the playoffs in 2010, averages 32 points but allows nearly 27.
"I think they've seen some defenses, but I don't think they've seen the speed and pursuit our defense has," Piron said. "I think it's at a pretty unique level. I think they can probably come into the game and score points, and I think we can, too."
Batavia will make DeKalb's defense prove it can match the physicality of Bulldogs offensive linemen Zach Tate, Connor McKeehan, Patrick Gamble, Jack Breshears, Max Heidgen and 6-foot-3, 280-pound Noah Cotten.
Piron also hinted the offense might feature a little more of 6-foot-3, 220-pound Anthony Thielk. He has 54 tackles and 5.5 sacks at linebacker, but opponents wouldn't know he can be a viable offensive force from his stats -- 1 carry for 3 yards.
On film foes will have seen all they wish on running back Anthony Scaccia and the passing attack of Micah Coffey and friends. Thielk could be something of a secret weapon.
"I think that'll be fun for us to see when he goes in, what our opponents do when he goes in there," Piron said.
Thielk's among this group of seniors who don't want this season to end.
"They've only got one choice," Piron said, "and that's to win."