Daily Herald's 2017 Season Coverage
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updated: 9/27/2016 10:42 AM

Batavia's UEC River streak was impressive in many ways

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All streaks must end at some point.

I know, call me "Captain Obvious."

Batavia's 34-game Upstate Eight Conference River Division winning streak ended last Friday night following a 28-7 loss to St. Charles East at Norris Stadium.

While the Saints entered the contest with a 4-0 mark, highlighted by their 28-21 victory over crosstown rival St. Charles North a week earlier, I doubt few figured the way that they would do it -- by scoring four fourth-quarter touchdowns during a frenetic 5-minute, 4-second span.

The Bulldogs had dominated their 6 previous UEC River games against the Saints, having outscored them by a combined total of 177 points.

Ironically, the Saints' 28-point fourth quarter matched their entire offensive point production from losses to Batavia from 2010-2015 (outscored 205-28).

Looking back at the Bulldogs' accomplishment, you start realizing just how impressive it was.

Batavia's conference winning streak, which spanned 5 years, 11 months (to the day) -- 2,161 total days -- began with a 50-0 victory over Streamwood on Oct. 23, 2010, at Millennium Stadium.

How dominant were the Bulldogs during the streak?

Just one of their 34 victories -- a 26-20 win over Geneva in 2014 -- was decided by fewer than 10 points.

Batavia enjoyed 5 consecutive unbeaten seasons in conference play (2011-2015), including the 2014 campaign when it posted 7 UEC River victories -- the only season West Chicago was in the UEC River before joining the UEC Valley.

Over those 34 games, the Bulldogs outscored their opponents, 1,478-335, for an average victory margin of 44-10.

Nine of those 34 wins were shutouts.

Oddly, none of the shutouts occurred during the Bulldogs' Class 6A state championship run in 2013.

However, since Batavia rang up 593 points and allowed just 200 points over the 14-game title schedule, coach Dennis Piron pulled his offensive and defensive starters on many occasions.

Piron, who took over as head coach in 2011, guided the Bulldogs to 33 of the 34 victories during the UEC River streak.

Longtime head coach and athletic director Mike Gaspari led the Bulldogs to their 50-0, playoff-clinching win over Streamwood in the 2010 regular season finale.

During the course of the streak, Batavia scored 40 points or more in 26 of the 34 games and topped the 50-point mark six times.

The Bulldogs even reached the 60-point plateau once, scoring 62 points in a 2013 triumph over Elgin.

Piron insisted that his coaching staff rarely discussed the streak to the players throughout the years.

"We really hadn't talked about it," said the coach, who owns an amazing 56-8 record in 5-plus seasons at the helm. "The kids might have brought it up from time to time but the coaches didn't.

"We've just been playing football games."

The fourth quarter may have seemed like a collapse to some but Piron pointed to the first half as a major reason the streak concluded against St. Charles East.

Batavia came away empty on a pair of trips to the red zone -- missing a 26-yard field goal early in the second quarter and fumbling away another opportunity at the Saints' 17-yard line midway through the period (recovered by Saints junior Pat Griffin).

While the Bulldogs' lone touchdown was a picture-perfect 53-yard pass play from quarterback Riley Cooper to Colin Cheaney late in the half, they squandered another chance just 14 seconds later on an interception by the Saints' Matt Bertke just inside the 5-yard line.

"We felt like it could have been 17-0 or 20-0," said Piron. "Instead, it was 7-0. They weathered the storm early on and were able to hang around.

"My hat's off to them -- they played real good football. I was impressed with their team energy and enthusiasm. They seized control of the football game pretty quickly."

It was Batavia's lowest offensive output in 68 games, dating back to its 14-7 loss to Marmion in the 2010 season opener.

Losing isn't a commonplace thing for the Bulldogs, who shouldn't have any problems getting motivated for their Week 6 opponent -- rival Geneva -- in Batavia's second game on its new artificial turf field.

Coincidentally, another lengthy streak ended last weekend as Lyons Township snapped Glenbard West's 32-game West Suburban Conference Silver Division winning streak, beating the defending Class 7A state champion Hilltoppers, 28-14.

Craig Brueske can be reached at

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