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DeKALB -- B-Town turned into T-Town Saturday in DeKalb.
As much pride as Batavians have hailing from B-Town, the long-time-in-coming T-Town -- Title-Town -- has a pretty sweet ring to it.
Anthony Scaccia ran for 3 touchdowns, Micah Coffey threw for 2 more and the Bulldogs dominated from start to finish in a 34-14 victory over Richards to win the Class 6A state championship in DeKalb.
It's not much of an exaggeration to say half of B-Town filled Huskie Stadium to watch Batavia bring home just the second championship for any Batavia team in IHSA sports history. The 1912 boys basketball team won Batavia's only other state title.
"To be able to bring this town its first state championship in 101 years and it's first football state championship, to be able to attach my name to that team, it's going to go down in history," Coffey said. "It's an amazing day."
Batavia (13-1) avenged the only loss in its dream season, winning its 12th straight game. When the final seconds ticked off the clock the estimated 12,000 Batavia fans roared once more, and moments later after going through the handshake line the Bulldog players sprinted over to join in the celebration by their Dawg Pound student section.
"It's an honor being that best team from Batavia, getting that state title because there's been so many great teams to come through this school," senior Michael Moffatt said. "There's been a lot of talent, a lot of teams that could have done it."
Moffatt helped set the tone on the opening possession. After a Noah Frazier sack on Richards' first play from scrimmage, Moffatt intercepted quarterback Hasan Rogers on the third play of the game.
Batavia followed with an 8-play, 78-yard touchdown march to take a lead it never relinquished. Anthony Scaccia, who had a costly fumble in the loss to Richards, accounted for 76 of the 78 yards on the drive including a 1-yard TD run.
"We were a little intimidated," Scaccia said of the Week 2 loss. "This time we were more prepared. I wasn't even touched my first touchdown. That's (the improved offensive line) a huge difference from the first time we faced them."
Batavia converted both third downs on that opening drive, the first on a screen to Scaccia who broke a tackle to get the first and the second on a Scaccia run. The Bulldogs converted their first 10 third down tries and finished 11 of 14 a week after making six fourth-down conversions against Boylan.
All those third-down conversions Saturday allowed Batavia to keep its offense on the field and win the time of possession 30:46 to Richards' 17:14.
"Credit to my offensive line," Coffey said. "They work so hard to protect me on those third downs, fourth downs, and to open up holes for Scaccia to run. Trying to keep long count, short count, in and out of formations, we have confidence in everything we do."
The Bulldogs quickly got the ball back, and again on third down Coffey came through, this time in record-setting fashion with a 96-yard touchdown pass to Moffatt. That set the Class 6A record for longest touchdown pass and was the second-longest in any championship game.
"It was a prefect throw by Micah," Moffatt said.
"Us breaking that play kind of opened the floodgates a little," Coffey said. "We showed them we weren't afraid to take our shots."
Rogers got Richards on the board with a 14-yard touchdown pass early in the second quarter. But Batavia answered with two more touchdowns before halftime -- a Coffey 25-yard toss to Rourke Mullins and Scaccia's 1-yard run -- to lead 28-7 at halftime.
The Bulldogs also made a key goal-line stop in the final seconds of the half. Richards had first-and-goal at the 4. Donovan Kilker and Nicholas Offutt stuffed Rogers on first down, Rogers threw incomplete the next two, and Josh Leonhard, who left with an injury, knocked down a pass on fourth to send Batavia to the lockeroom with a 21-point lead and momentum still on its side.
Batavia got the ball to start the second half and drove 55 yards in 7 plays for another score. Scaccia scored his third touchdown on a 12-yard run, and Batavia led 34-7.
"As offensive linemen we always say keep going, keep pushing, keep punishing the other team," Batavia's Noah Cotten said. "We didn't want to let up, Keep the pedal going."
Batavia didn't score again but didn't need to the way its defense played. Anthony Thielk and Rourke Mullins added interceptions. Mullins led Batavia with 7 tackles and Nick Bernabei had 5. Frazier had 2 sacks.
The Batavia front four forced Rogers to run for his life much of the game. The Bulldogs brought an occasional linebacker occasionally but got most of the pressure from its line.
"We do have a very good front four and we were getting to them a lot," said Ryan Minniti, who credited junior James Millette with the line's improvement as the season went on. "Our plan was only to bring one guy because we know how good Hasan is at passing. The front four dominated. We've progressed so much as a defense. That's all it was a learning process and we've become a stout defense."
Scaccia ran for 189 yards and 3 touchdowns on 33 carries, bringing his program record to 28 touchdowns. Coffey threw 18 times, completing 15 for 229 yards and 2 TDs to finish with 29 touchdowns. Moffatt led the receivers with 6 catches for 127 yards. Piron, a 1983 Batavia graduate now with a 34-3 record in his three years as coach, fought back tears when talking about the first state title and all the fan support from B-Town meant.
"To be on the field and looking up (at the crowd), every time I looked up my eyes teared up," Piron said. "(Offensive coordinator) Mike (Gaspari) said 'Don't look up there.' Seeing what a great community we have and seeing your family. It was tough to look up. I honestly had a hard time looking at that crowd. I wish I could go back and look back now but during the game it was hard because it overwhelmed you. All the Red and Gold. It was beautiful."
"It's incredible. We have a great fan base," Minniti said. "Everyone loves the Bulldogs and we love them."