If it's ever possible for Batavia to have a bittersweet win when the Bulldogs beat Geneva, it happened Friday at Burgess Field.
Losing three-year starting quarterback Noel Gaspari in the third quarter left coaches and players with mixed emotions after their 46-34 victory.
It's not yet known how long Gaspari will be out with his injured right shoulder but there was speculation on the Batavia sidelines that it could be a long-term injury.
"Too early to tell," Batavia coach Dennis Pirson said. "Hopefully we'll know more this weekend and I pray to God he's Ok."
Offensive lineman Brock Batka has known Gaspari a lot longer than he's been blocking for him.
"He's one of my best friends since we were young so I was just worried about him, not more or less about the football," Batka said. "I don't want him to be injured. I know how much it meant to him. But I had confidence in (backup) Daniel (Albrecht). He's a great kid, he practices hard."
Batka and his fellow starting linemen Adam Hunger, Zack Schoettes, Ben Link and Nick Pappas deserve a lot of the credit for Batavia being able to win even without Gaspari.
Batavia was ahead 32-27 at the time of the injury, and even though Geneva knew the Bulldogs were going to run the ball, the Vikings couldn't stop it.
"We know we can do that." Batka said. "We haven't been doing it lately. I'm real proud we went out there and did that today."
Pappas was one of the linemen who was on the losing end in the trenches in the 2010 meeting with Geneva, a 40-21 Vikings win.
"We had a tough time last year," Pappas said. "It was definitely motivation, getting revenge, showing we could do what we needed to do to get a win. I have all the faith in our team and knew we could pull it off.
"Our whole line jelled together. We got our pads that much lower, our feet moving that much quicker. They (Geneva) were a very tough defense but we got the upper hand in this one."
Dom Guzaldo (17 carries, 92 yards, 3 TDs), Alec Lyons (9 carries, 40 yards, 2 TDs) and Alex Moore (5 carries, 84 yards) did most of the damage on the ground.
Batavia had run for just 22 yards while leading 17-14 at halftime, then exploded with 232 rushing yards in the second half.
"Coming into this game we didn't know what to expect," Lyons said. "We were going to play our hearts out and we ended up sticking it to them carrying the rock. Our offensive line really grinded it out so we got every yard we could on every run."
Geneva coach Rob Wicinski was certainly impressed. Batavia won the game the way his teams usually do.
"They are big team and they got off the ball and deserved to win the game," Wicinski said. "Teams have run the ball on us this year. We bend but we don't break but we broke a little bit tonight."
Of course, Batavia's primary concern is Gaspari's health.
"It's painful," Pappas said. "You don't want to see Noel on the ground ever. We knew our offense was going to change a little bit. We have all the faith in the world in Albrecht as a player and a person. Our whole team stepped it up. We were able to run the ball on them and get the upper hand on their defense."