Batavia holds off Oswego for Piron's 100th victory
Dennis Piron stripped off his jacket and T-shirt, and pulled on a black sweatshirt with the number "100" in red to the delight of a boisterous Batavia team kneeling in front of him.
Numbers or no numbers, this was a win to remember.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Boe overcame a shaky start to throw two second-half touchdown passes, both on third-and-long. Batavia's defense held Oswego to just two second-half first downs, and the Bulldogs overcame a 13-point deficit to beat the host Panthers 21-13 on Friday at Ken Pickerill Stadium.
In the process, Piron earned his 100th career win at Batavia (2-0), although he quickly deflected the attention back to his kids.
"Really proud of them," Piron said. "Made some nice adjustments, the defense just played phenomenal and the offense just found a way. I thought the kids were very resilient."
Boe was sacked five times, three of those coming in the first half. He fumbled a snap, and was intercepted in the final minute of the first half, Oswego taking a 13-0 lead into halftime.
But he connected with AJ Sanders on a 66-yard catch-and-run for a touchdown with 21.4 seconds left in the third quarter to cut the Oswego lead to 13-7.
Oswego later failed to capitalize on a Batavia fumble deep in Bulldogs' territory, a 32-yard field goal attempt going wide right.
Boe and Batavia made it hurt.
On third down he threaded the needle down the middle to Jacob Hohmann, and the member of Batavia's state relay champion took it all the way for a 42-yard TD and 14-13 lead with 4:05 left.
"Our line played great allowing me time to get that play off, and Hohmann does his magic," said Boe, 5-for-10 for 135 yards. "That was the most fun experience I've ever had."
Jalen Buckley ran for 157 yards on 24 carries and a 19-yard TD run in the final minutes, 123 of his yards coming in the second half. He carried the load after Josh Dornink turned an ankle early in the first half and didn't return.
"I think we just persevered," Buckley said. "Being down 13-0 at half, that wasn't the plan, we came out flat, the turnovers weren't expected, but at halftime we talked it up and never pointed fingers at anybody. We kept fighting."
Oswego (0-2) was coming off a 37-26 loss to Neuqua Valley, the most points the program had given up in a game in six years.
The Panthers answered the bell Friday, at least for a little over a half.
Oswego held Batavia to just 51 yards of offense in the first half, Nate Perry accounting for two of the team's three first-half sacks. Cameron Grays picked off Boe to end the half with Batavia driving.
Junior quarterback Cruz Ibarra, who split reps in Week 1, went all the way, and was sharp in the first half, going 10-for-14 for 126 yards.
Oswego converted a fake punt, two third downs and a fourth down on its first drive that ended with Braedon Hellinger's 6-yard TD run. Ibarra later threw a 24-yard TD pass to Jordan Katzenbach, who caught five passes for 92 yards in the first half.
But the Panthers twice came up empty with a short field in the second half, the first after a Batavia muffed punt attempt.
"Tale of two halves," Oswego coach Brian Cooney said. "We told our guys throughout the summer the challenge we had weeks one and two."
Even in defeat, and being 0-2 for the first time since 2013, Cooney saw progress.
"I was not happy with our summer performance in practice and focus and as a result we got it handed to us last week. This week we hit the reset button," Cooney said.