The only score that mattered at Batavia Saturday was 31-17, the margin the victorious Bulldogs used to knock out Lake Forest in the second round of the Class 6A playoffs.
But it was far from the only score that helped tell the story of how Batavia (11-0) advanced to the quarterfinals next week at Lakes (9-2), joining the program's 1996 and 2006 teams in advancing this far in the playoffs and the first to do so with an undefeated record.
Take 41-7 the score for the teams when they had the wind at their back driving to the North end zone. Batavia's Alec Lyons rumbled 4 yards for a touchdown in the second quarter, the only points for either team driving into the wind.
It would be hard to find a game that the wind had a bigger impact. It's why Batavia coach Dennis Piron deferred after winning the coin flip to take the wind.
It's also why Piron called two timeouts late in the first quarter to force the Scouts to punt into the wind.
"I don't know what the deal was but it seemed the wind changed the whole game," Batavia linebacker Austin Higgins said. "When we are with the wind we score. When they are with the wind they score. It just changed the whole game, it's amazing."
Or try 21-0 the score in Batavia's favor in the fourth quarter. A week after coming from 28-7 down to beat Notre Dame the Bulldogs did it again, proving to be quite a resilient team erasing Lake Forest's 17-10 lead after three quarters.
"It's not the ideal way but we'll take it," said linebacker Sean Oroni.
"We've got to play better in the first half and not let that happen," Higgins added. "But every time we are down in the second half it's just at this point it's win or go home and we don't want the season to end. There's just a lot of brotherly love with this group and no one wants to stop playing football."
Lake Forest (8-3) entered with an offense that liked to run the ball with senior Owen Williams and mix in Jordan Beck's passing.
But from the opening possession to the final one, Batavia's defense didn't let that happen. Lyons sacked Beck on the first play from scrimmage, while the Bulldogs swarmed Williams all day holding him to 3 rushing yards on 14 carries.
"I love it when a team wants to come out and run," Oroni said. "It gives us a challenge. When we take that away it forces them to pass and it's not what they want to do. We want to make them one-dimensional."
Williams only had two runs over two yards and was tackled for a loss six times. Lyons, Anthony Thielk, Higgins, Mack Brown and Oroni all had at least one tackle for loss.
The Scouts finished with negative rushing yardage in the game, just 104 yards of total offense and 5 first downs as Bulldogs defensive coordinator Matt Holm was aggressive in his calls.
"We're a very fast aggressive front," Piron said. "I think Matt felt let's get after it a little bit today so we shot more people, we did a little bit more.
"We have an awful lot of guys there you have to block. There isn't any guy you can say he doesn't go hard, he doesn't have a motor. No one can really one-on-one block any of our guys. We go against them in practice and it's a nightmare."
Despite that dominance, the Scouts were in position for the upset by capitalizing on two short fields. Batavia led 10-0 late in the second quarter on Brandon Clabough's 28-yard field goal and Lyons' touchdown run, but a 4-yard punt set the Scouts up at Batavia's 11-yard line.
Beck hit Cameron Douglass with an 11-yard touchdown pass to cut Batavia's lead to 10-7 at halftime. The Scouts took the wind in the third quarter and a blocked punt again gave Lake Forest the ball in great field position. Again Beck went to the air on the next play and found Liam Howe for a 30-yard touchdown and a 14-10 lead.
Baylor Broughton's 26-yard field goal put the Scouts ahead 17-10 with 5:44 left in the third quarter. Zach Strittmatter's 28-yard punt return gave the Bulldogs life, but Batavia's offense was getting frustrated. Quarterback Noel Gaspari was sacked six times losing 69 yards.
For the second straight playoff game Batavia went to the fourth quarter trailing.
"We knew this was going to be a battle," Piron said. "We knew they were going to blitz. That is by far the most Noel has been hit all year."
Strittmatter took a pass from Gaspari to open the fourth quarter, made a quick move and got away down the left sideline for a 38-yard gain to the 2-yard line. On the next play Lyons bounced off left tackle to make it a 17-17 game with 9:18 left.
Another three-and-out by Batavia's defense and another short punt gave the Bulldogs the ball back at Lake Forest's 27. Gaspari found Lyons on a 17-yard screen to give the Bulldogs first and goal. This time Thielk finished the drive with a 1-yard plunge and a 24-17 lead.
Lake Forest never crossed midfield on its next two drives trying to tie the game. Batavia then sealed the game on Lyons' third short touchdown run of the game set up by an 18-yard Gaspari run.
"We had the momentum at the end of the third quarter and fourth quarter we obviously didn't play well enough to win," Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli said. "Owen struggled. People aren't stupid. They know who he is and game plan against him and we have to be able to be successful in other areas."
Gaspari finished 10-of-19 passing for 141 yards and no interceptions. Thielk led the ground attack with 50 yards and one crushing run when he knocked the helmet off a would-be tackler.
Lyons also was physical in getting his 35 yards with an 18-yard gain just before halftime that took about all 11 Scouts to pile on him in what looked more like a rugby scrum.
"In the end we were able to put the points on the board we need to to win the game and drive the ball when it mattered," Piron said. "In the fourth quarter I don't think anyone has stopped us all year long."