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Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/23/2016 11:46 PM

St. Charles E. ends Batavia's River run

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Heading into the football season, St. Charles East was hoping to get a much-needed victory over a Tri-Cities school.

Try a sweep.

The Saints (5-0, 3-0) completed a 3-week sweep of their Tri-Cities rivals with a 28-7 victory over Batavia (4-1, 2-1) before a raucous crowd at Norris Stadium Friday night in St. Charles.

Trailing 7-0 after 3 quarters, the Saints scored four fourth-quarter touchdowns during a 5-minute, 4-second span to stun the Bulldogs, who had their 34-game Upstate Eight Conference River Division winning streak snapped.

It marked the Saints' first win over the Bulldogs since 2008 (32-21).

"It feels good," said junior multipurpose threat Clayton Isbell. "We feel this is our year. Batavia is a great program with a great coach. We knew that we had to play harder."

Isbell capped the Saints' first scoring drive with a 4-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Zach Mitchell on 4th-and-goal, tying the game at 7-all with 7 minutes remaining.

Moments earlier, the Saints converted a 3rd-and-9 play from the Bulldogs' 26 with a 19-yard flea flicker from Mitchell to senior running back Dante Macaluso.

"We finally took a breath," said Saints coach Bryce Farquhar. "Up until that point, I think we were so tense. Everyone knows Batavia had the winning streak going and has won conference for so many years. But our kids responded."

After forcing a 3-and-out series, the Saints regained possession at the Bulldogs' 31 following a 10-yard punt.

Sophomore tailback Justin Jett (14 carries, 83 yards) scored on the next play, racing 31 yards untouched to give the Saints the lead for good at 14-7 with 5:00 remaining.

An interception by junior Yalon Rogers helped set up Jett's 9-yard TD scamper as the Saints upped their lead to 21-7 with 4:11 left.

Mitchell's 31-yard TD run capped the scoring with 1:56 remaining, setting off a celebratory scene on the Saints' sideline.

"I give Zach a lot of credit tonight," Farquhar said of Mitchell. "That touchdown Jett scored (31-yarder) was an audible that he called at the line. He did a great job reading the defense."

Momentum certainly swung in the Saints' favor down the stretch.

"We tell our kids once it starts going, go for the throat," said Farquhar. "I think our fourth quarter really showed where we're at. I don't think we played four complete quarters but that's a good football team."

Led by Pat Griffin, Nico Piaskowy, Sam Grohe, DeAndre Allen, Malik Hatch, Rogers, Isbell and others, the Saints' defense was up to the challenge against the Bulldogs.

"The defense is the story tonight," said Farquhar. "They kept us in it and created turnovers when we needed it."

Batavia scored its lone touchdown on a 53-yard pass from quarterback Riley Cooper to Colin Cheaney with 1:24 left in the first half.

"They did a very good job on defense -- as good as anybody has done against us in a number of years," said Bulldogs coach Dennis Piron.

"We could feel the momentum slide their way as the fourth quarter rolled on and then there was no grabbing it back."

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