Batavia holds off Lemont
Not since eighth grade has Batavia senior Michael Jansey had this kind of fun.
That was the last time the Northwestern-committed linebacker carried the ball at least six times in a game
Jansey, who burst through the line for 2 sacks to lead a stout Batavia defense in a 22-15 victory at Lemont on Friday, gained 36 yards on 6 carries.
The most important rush for the 6-foot-2, 215-pound senior was a 12-yard rumble that snapped a 15-15 tie with 5:04 left in the fourth quarter. Jansey followed the lead block of senior Luke Weerts -- a 6-foot-2, 235-pound fellow linebacker who also joins Batavia's jumbo package in short-yardage situations.
Jansey played in the backfield a bit last season but only carried once against South Elgin for 4 yards. Friday he scored the game winner for the reigning Class 7A champs in a tough road test.
"It's a good feeling. It's like being in eighth grade again," Jansey said. "I love that. It's awesome."
The Bulldogs played defense the way they expected with Jansey, Weerts, junior linebacker Quinn Urwiler, senior safety Nick Conger and senior lineman Ethan Towers returning. Batavia held Lemont to 142 total yards, 47 rushing.
"We just played fast and quick with everyone running to the ball," Towers said. "They can't keep running if all 11 of us are there."
The Batavia defense bailed out an offense that had opportunities it did not convert. Senior quarterback Jack Meyers was intercepted twice in the end zone and Lemont converted a third interception into a game-tying touchdown in the fourth quarter. Lemont quarterback Matt Milan capped a 38-yard drive with an 8-yard scamper. He then threw a 2-point fade to Anthony Sambucci to knot the game.
"I know I can play a whole lot better than that," said Meyers, who finished 11 of 24 for 145 yards and a touchdown. "I'm a little disappointed with my play, but we just have to get right back at it. We have to come in and watch film and find out what I need to do better."
Meyers contributed a 17-yard, third-down scramble that set up a fourth-down conversion run by Trey Urwiler. Jansey scored on the next play.
"We knew he can run the football," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said of Meyers. "As he gets more comfortable and confident as the season goes on, we expect special things out of that young man."
The Bulldogs fought through adversity on offense due to injury. They lost running back Art Taylor and 6-foot-6 tight end Drew Iutzwig in the first half and running back Isaiah Fields in the fourth quarter. Still, the Bulldogs gained 287 total yards as seven ball carriers gained 142 rushing yards.
Linebackers Jansey, Weerts and Quinn Urwiler were hard to stop when playing in the offensive backfield.
"We like to keep our guys fresh and not play them both ways as much as possible," Piron said, "but when push comes to shove and you've got to do it those are pretty good guys to have on your football team."