It was probably a foregone conclusion that Batavia would finish off an undefeated football season, claim its first Upstate Eight conference title, and first league crown since 2006 by topping visiting Streamwood Friday night.
It was just a matter of how.
Does the term landslide fit? Or maybe Streamwood would call it a sea of Bulldog red. Either way, the Bulldogs' 49-6 sledgehammer on the Sabres sent Batavia players and their fans into a joyous celebration on the field with the conference trophy being carried around by each player in Stanley Cup fashion.
"It feels really good for the boys, but I wish they hadn't dumped water on me, it's too cold out here," first-year Batavia coach Dennis Piron said after watching his team roll to a 42-0 halftime lead and finish with 405 yards of total offense.
The cold water was the only complaint Piron could possibly have after quarterback Noel Gaspari sparked the route with five touchdown passes and the defense put in another masterful performance and tallied touchdowns on a 70-yard fumble recovery by Michael Moffatt, and a 50-yard interception return by Robbie Bowman.
"They really wanted to accomplish this and go 9-0 and win the conference outright and leave no doubt," Piron said of his team. "They had a good sense of purpose, and I am very pleased, this was a great effort."
The great effort started early and often for Batavia when Gaspari found Zach Strittmatter open in the flat on the Bulldogs' first possession, and the wide receiver broke one tackle and scampered in for 34-yard score.
On the next possession, Gaspari rolled out to find Dom Guzaldo for 14-yard touchdown, and the rout was on.
When tight end Cole Gardner pulled down a 6-yard pass early in the second quarter and bowled over a Streamwood defender to score, the defense decided it wanted part of the action.
Moffatt grabbed a loose ball on a pass behind the line of scrimmage that was behind running back Alex Morrow and bolted 70 yards for the score.
"At first I didn't think it was a live ball passed behind him, but the coaches kept yelling to keep playing," Moffatt said. "I ran up to it and it took a nice hop to me right in my hands, so I went right down the sideline and had great blocking."
Evan Zeddies got in on the action by hauling in a 20-yard scoring strike from Gaspari in the second quarter, moments after pulling in a 32-yard pass.
Bowman turned in his 50-yard interception return for a touchdown when he picked off quarterback Dalton Lundeen's errant toss, giving Batavia (9-0, 6-0) its 42-0 lead at halftime.
"Austin Higgins tipped it to me, and it was right in my breadbasket and I just took off, and it was wide open," Bowman said. "The coaches have been preaching takeaways all year, and that's what we were trying to do."
The starters went to the bench early in the second half, especially after Gaspari hooked up with a wide open Strittmatter for an 83-yard scoring bomb on the first play of the third quarter.
"This season has been incredible, the most fun of all, but I faced a lot of adversity during my sophomore year with parents and my own teammates giving me a lot of grief," Gaspari said of his three-year climb to a conference title.
As he has done nearly every week, Gaspari was quick to praise his offensive linemen, saying they were the reason the team went undefeated. He rattled off their names - Sebastion Vermaas, Ben Link, Brock Batka, Zack Schoettes, Adam Hunger and Nick Pappas - saying they deserved high praise.
Streamwood (6-3, 3-3) was stifled early by being held to minus-11 yards rushing in the first half, and finishing with only 43 yards on the ground.
The Sabres scored their only touchdown on a 14-yard pass from Lundeen to Morrow midway through the third quarter.
Both teams head into playoff action next weekend, but the Bulldogs have the decided edge in momentum.
"We can't wait for the playoffs, it's just unbelievable," Gardner said.
"We're going to get together with the community and celebrate tomorrow night."
And what would be an important factor for the 6-6, 250-pound tight end and defensive end?
"We're going to eat some food and then watch (IHSA pairings show) to see who we are playing," Gardner said. "It's going to be so much fun."