Batavia gets into groove against Glenbard North
In a wild, high-scoring final three minutes of the second quarter, seniors Nick Conger and Quinn Urwiler helped the Batavia defense finally stop the flow Friday at Glenbard North.
As Conger sacked quarterback Mike Vazquez, the ball popped loose and then rolled a few yards. Urwiler scooped it up and went 60 yards for a touchdown 15.1 seconds before halftime.
"It was huge, got us a really huge momentum change. It was a big play," Conger said. "I was so mad. I bobbled it a couple of times but the thing in the end was (Urwiler) scored. That's all that matters."
The score sparked the surge that carried the undefeated Bulldogs to a 42-12 DuKane Conference victory in Carol Stream after the upstart Panthers closed to 14-12 on Jordan McQuarter's electrifying 91-yard kickoff return 2:22 before halftime but missed the 2-point conversion to tie the game.
"We had a couple of deep balls caught over us (defensively) but nothing we can't fix this next week coming," Conger said. "Tonight our goal was make a statement in a new conference and we did that."
Batavia (4-0, 2-0) had 5 turnovers, starting with the second play from scrimmage on Ethan Towers' fumble recovery fumble at the Panthers' 21.
Art Taylor scored the first of his three TDs from the 1 after a fourth-and-3, 13-yard slant pass from quarterback Jack Meyers to Ethan Neibch.
After just 4 yards on their first eight plays, the Panthers (0-4, 0-2) then caught fire. On fourth-and-10 punter Mike Wellman took a low snap and still ran the fake to get a first down at the Panthers' 45. On the next play, Vazquez found Kobie Jamison in stride at the 30 en route to a 55-yard TD. The extra point failed.
The Panthers kept coming but Urwiler intercepted a bobbled pass at the 26. Six plays later, Taylor scored on a 39-yard burst after three passes from Meyers to Nick Rempert netted 24 yards during the drive.
Following McQuarter's TD return, Batavia started at its 9. Taylor ran for 43 yards and Meyers hit Rempert with a 48-yard TD pass 1:57 before halftime.
The Panthers reached the 22 before Urwiler's fumble return. Urwiler, who also plays running back, now has six TDs -- the other five as a running back. He had the game's final score Friday on a 4-yard carry with 9:31 left.
"(On the fumble return) I saw the ball come out and I was like Oh, Nick's going to pick it up and score. I'm sprinting over and the next thing you know I have the ball and I'm running toward the end zone," Urwiler said.
"On defense you're not going to get as many opportunities to score so when you score on defense it's like winning the Super Bowl I guess."
In the third quarter, the Panthers reached the 31 on a 30-yard catch by Rory Hills, but on the next play, Joseph Oroni snuffed out a screen pass for an interception. With 34.6 seconds left in the period, Taylor scored on a 22-yard run after a 36-yard punt return by Conger.
En route to the 2017 Class 7A championship, Batavia defeated Glenbard North 21-7 in the first round of the playoffs. The Panthers now will have to win out to make a playoff return.
"They come after you. Our kids still came out in the third quarter and battled hard," Glenbard North coach Ryan Wilkens said. "You can say we gave great effort and without a doubt they did but now we have to win next week. That's the bottom line."