Taylor's return sparks Batavia in rout of Lake Park
Batavia's Art Taylor made up for some lost time Friday night.
Sidelined by an injury (concussion) suffered in the season opener against Lemont, Taylor made his presence felt early and often upon his return to the starting lineup against Lake Park.
The speedy 5-foot-8 junior tailback accounted for 184 of his 185 multipurpose yards of offense in the first half, including a pair of touchdown runs, while helping lead the Bulldogs (3-0, 1-0) to a 43-7 victory over the Lancers (1-2, 0-1) at Bulldog Stadium.
Taylor, who capped the Bulldogs' 5-play, 63-yard opening drive with an electrifying 49-yard TD run along the sideline in the game's first 2 ½ minutes, was just happy to be back on the field again after sitting out last week's nonconference win over Naperville North.
"Sitting out and watching my other teammates play was hard," admitted Taylor, who added a 26-yard touchdown run as part of the Bulldogs' 15-point second quarter. "The hardest part was not being to contribute.
"This week, I got back at practice which was a lot of fun."
The game marked the DuKane Conference debut for both teams. Batavia has now won 41 of its last 44 conference contests (including the Upstate Eight River).
"I was happy with the way we came out, and honestly, we had some more opportunities or it could have been a bigger first half," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron, whose team led 29-0 at halftime.
Taylor's return came an opportune time for the Bulldogs.
"He's a very good player," said Piron. "It was nice because we're having these dings each week with guys falling on other guys. Trey (Urwiler) was a little banged up -- the day after last week's game (25 carries, 198 yards vs. Naperville North), he woke up and his calf was a little sore.
"It's one thing or another right now."
Quarterback Jack Meyers (9 of 17, 117 yards) connected with Zack Weber for a 29-yard touchdown pass on a 4th-and-27 play that extended the Bulldogs' lead to 14-0.
"It was very important that we were able to do some of those things," said Piron. "Every time Jack (Meyers) gets another game under his belt, I think he's getting that much better."
Batavia also capitalized on 4 Lancer turnovers -- two of which directly resulted in points. Carter Gette's 45-yard interception return gave Batavia a 36-0 lead with 1:12 left in the third quarter, and Jackson Williams' 10-yard fumble recovery for a TD less than a minute later helped begin the running clock at 43-0.
"Our offense moved the ball in the first half the way we wanted to but we turned it over three times," said Lake Park coach Chris Roll. "That was 17 of those (29 first-half) points."
Backup quarterback Carlos Feliciano got the Lancers on the board with his 40-yard TD run with 4:44 remaining.
"We have to get ready for the next DKC team because that's how the season goes," said Roll. "They're (the Bulldogs) the defending state champions for a reason."