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Article updated: 11/25/2013 5:58 PM
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Weather, Boylan no match for Batavia
 

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Weather, Boylan no match for Batavia
  • Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.com Batavia's Michael Moffatt, left, congratulates Jordan Zwart (hidden) as he bumps with Alec Berry after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Class 6A semifinal game on Saturday, November 23.

    Laura Stoecker/lstoecker@dailyherald.com Batavia's Michael Moffatt, left, congratulates Jordan Zwart (hidden) as he bumps with Alec Berry after scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter of the Class 6A semifinal game on Saturday, November 23.

  •  Batavia's Rourke Mullins dives over the goal line past teammate Anthony Thielk after intercepting a Rockford Boylan pass and returning it for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Class 6A semifinal win on Saturday in Rockford.

    Purchase Photo | Batavia's Rourke Mullins dives over the goal line past teammate Anthony Thielk after intercepting a Rockford Boylan pass and returning it for a touchdown in the second quarter of the Class 6A semifinal win on Saturday in Rockford. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

  •  Batavia's Tucker Knox, left, and Connor McKeehan, right, congratulate teammate Jordan Zwart, center, on his 90-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter.

    Purchase Photo | Batavia's Tucker Knox, left, and Connor McKeehan, right, congratulate teammate Jordan Zwart, center, on his 90-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Laura Stoecker | Staff Photographer

 

When Batavia tight end Noah Frazier throws a block to help clear holes for Anthony Scaccia or give time for Micah Coffey to throw, it's easy for the junior to find motivation.

That motivation is one of his teammates who isn't able to throw a block -- fellow junior Mitchell Krusz who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 8 against St. Charles North.

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"Our line has been working hard all year, but when Mitchell went down, we want to do it for him, he's always the motivation," Frazier said. "(Offensive line) Coach PJ (White) is always on us to have the perfect game. We still haven't had that but we're getting close."

A group that includes Jack Breshears, Zach Tate, Connor McKeehan, Patrick Gamble and Max Heidgen certainly was clicking Saturday when Batavia ran for 211 yards and outgained Rockford Boylan 405-167 in a dominating 38-6 victory in the Class 6A semifinals.

Batavia (12-1) will face Richards (12-1) at 1 p.m. Saturday at NIU in the 6A state championship game.

"The greatest feeling in the world as an offensive lineman is when you are running the ball and you know you are going to run, the defense knows you are going to run and they still can't stop you," Frazier said. "The whole stadium knows you are going to run and they can't stop you, that's the greatest feeling in the world."

In particular, it was Scaccia who the whole stadium knew was going to get the ball and couldn't be stopped, carrying 41 times for 184 yards and 3 touchdowns

That brings Scaccia's season totals to 1,725 rushing yards and 25 TDs.

"He's unbelievable," Frazier said. "He never complains. He does everything right. If we mess up a block he doesn't yell at us. You can't hep but want to block for a guy like that."

Riverboat gambler: When a team goes for it 9 times on fourth down -- like Batavia did Saturday making 6 of its first 7 -- it might seem like the coach has a bit of crazy in him.

But coach Dennis Piron said the opposite, that all those fourth-down tries were easy decisions given a number of factors: how close they were to a first down, how well Scaccia and the line were playing, and how hard it was to punt the ball with frigid weather conditions.

"They weren't that tough decisions with the line we have, the weather and the wind the way it is, it was hard to snap," Piron said.

Boylan quarterback Demry Croft, disappointed not to get the ball back as the Bulldogs kept converting, wasn't surprised.

"They got the ball in four- down territory," Croft said. "Anything inside the 50 is four-down territory for our team and I'm sure it is for them."

Doing their homework: Piron has always complimented how much work his team does preparing for games, watching film and knowing exactly what the opponent is going to do.

Senior Rourke Mullins, who had a 56-yard interception return for a touchdown in the semifinal win, said that preparation goes both ways.

"They (Boylan) have a great offense but our coaches got us prepared," Mullins said. "Our coaches did a great job and we did a great job focusing all week in film study."

Piron said it's an easy group for him to coach.

"They are friends, they have known each other their whole lives, you can see how they are to each other," Piron said. "They are so fun to be around, so fun to coach, so respectful, so coachable. Anything you suggest or ask they just do it. No questions asked. The belief is so strong both directions."

Ice Bowl, take two: Maybe it wasn't as bad as the famous Green Bay-Dallas NFL championship game in 1967, but the freezing temperatures, howling wind and awful field conditions made Batavia's performance that much more impressive Saturday.

"It was really hard to make our cuts on," said senior Michael Moffatt who caught a touchdown pass, his seventh of the season. "The wind was kind of bad but we pulled through."

"It's football, you just have to play through it," Frazier said. "It's part of the game."

Piron, though, was quite impressed. And while Batavia didn't let the conditions get to them, Boylan certainly seemed out of sorts all game.

"What a tough day to compete," Piron said. "To play the way we did in these conditions is phenomenal. You wouldn't have even known it was cold on our sideline."

Pre-game ticket sales: Tickets for Saturday's game are $10 each and will be available for purchase at multiple locations and times this week:

Tuesday at the Batavia athletic office (students only), on Tuesday at the Batavia Fine Arts Centre from 6 to 8 p.m., on Wednesday at the Windmill City Classic in the field house hallway from 6 to 8 p.m., and on Thanksgiving at the team practice and the BYF Turkey Bowl at Batavia Stadium from 8 to 10 a.m.

Tickets also will be sold starting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the NIU gate and are good for all four games.

Hometown pride: A Batavia graduate himself, Piron couldn't have been more pumped about Batavia making it back to state. The Bulldogs lost 30-20 to Normal in their only other state championship appearance in 2006.

"I'm a Batavia kid, I grew up in Batavia, went to school in Batavia, was born in Batavia, great, great grandparents lived there, it couldn't be any better for me. It's a dream for me," Piron said.

"I never dreamed we'd be back in a state title game this quickly. For a school like ours and a community like ours where we have the kids we have to have the success we are having right now speaks volumes to our community, our parents, our coaching staff, everything."

The last hurdle is Richards, who dealt Batavia its only loss of the season 31-25 in Week 2.

Batavia played that game at home, and Saturday's game in DeKalb could also feel like a home game if the approximately 15,000 fans Batavia took to Champaign in 2006 is any indication.

"The police better stay in Batavia because the houses will be empty," Piron joked. "We're blessed with what we have at Batavia now, coaches and kids. There's a final chapter now, we know when it ends, we'll see how it plays out. They got their wish, they got their extended season. It's just wonderful."

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