Batavia blows out St. Charles East
Batavia had just started to break its postgame huddle before coach Dennis Piron concluded his remarks.
Of all the postgame discussion, three words rang the loudest: "Leave no doubt."
The Bulldogs' first play from scrimmage Friday -- a 65-yard touchdown pass from Kyle Oroni to running back AJ Sanders -- perhaps said all. It paved the way to Batavia's emphatic 54-7 win over St. Charles East in Friday's DuKane Conference opener.
"We want to leave no doubt [to] everyone around us how much work we've put in, how much we've done for this," Oroni said. "We want to leave no doubt [to] every single one of these players that it's all been worth it; that all those times spent in the weight room, all those practices have been for these moments."
Batavia (1-0, 1-0) had three touchdowns of over 60 yards: Sanders' opening catch, Josh Dornink's 66-yard first quarter rushing score and Dondre Phillips' 68-yard score midway through the third quarter.
Trey Urwiler added a 47-yard rushing score and Oroni had a 58-yard third quarter strike to Jalen Buckley.
"We want to leave no doubt in how much we prepare for this and how much we prepare for stuff like this," said Oroni, who finished with 13 completions for 205 yards, 4 touchdowns and 1 interception.
"We knew exactly what that first play was going to look like. We've been running that all week and it was based off of a [play run last year], and honestly, I have all confidence in our coaches. I knew it was going to be there and it was all just from this week of practice."
Between Sanders, Phillips, Dornink and Urwiler, the Bulldogs racked up 238 yards rushing.
Batavia took a 14-0 first quarter lead on Dornink's 66-yard rushing score. Saints quarterback Nathan Hayes (5 completions, 30 yards, 1 touchdown, 2 interceptions) eventually answered with a 4-yard touchdown pass to Kelton McCaslin, but Batavia came right back with a 13-play drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Reese Wheatley for the 21-7 advantage.
Evan Kopf intercepted, and Batavia scored one play later on a 2-yard touchdown pass to tight end Alex Farron giving the Bulldogs a 27-7 lead into the half.
Batavia then scored touchdowns on four consecutive drives. Dornink ran for a 4-yard TD, Phillips' 68-yard score, a 58-yard touchdown pass to Buckley and Urwiler's 47-yard rushing score.
"[Batavia] was really seamless; they played really well," Saints coach Bryce Farquhar said. "They made a few mistakes, but not many and they played fast and physical. They just seem to be a really well-oiled machine right now."
The Saints (0-1, 0-1) shocked Batavia 30-29 in a classic in 2019, a memory clearly on the Bulldogs' mind entering Friday. A pregame speech by Urwiler before running out onto the field and later by Sanders during a postgame interview confirmed it.
"We took that one personal," Sanders said. "Because we just don't like losing. We're not normally a losing school. So, we took that one personal and we just brought it to them today."
The Bulldogs defense shut Hayes and the offense down for just 57 rushing yards entering the fourth quarter and forced two Hayes interceptions and earned sacks from Drew Bartels and Tyler Jansey.
"We're really good. These are really good kids who are super dedicated," Piron said. "And we found a way through electronics, communication methods [to get ready for this season]...When we were given an inch by the state, we took it."
"I can't thank our administration at Batavia enough for allowing us to, whenever it was allowed, trust us to work with kids."