Batavia rolls into quarterfinals
A little more than a minute into Saturday's Class 7A second-round football playoff game against Batavia, Moline grabbed an early 6-0 lead on a 94-yard halfback option pass from Xavier Scritchfield to Nate Johnson.
The successful trick play admittedly caught the Bulldogs a little off guard.
"Unfortunately, we bit on it and they got the touchdown," said Batavia junior linebacker Quinn Urwiler. "But no worries."
No worries, indeed.
Batavia (11-0) scored on 3 of its next 4 possessions and built a 31-13 halftime lead on its way to an impressive 59-32 home triumph over Moline (9-2).
With the win, the 4th-seeded Bulldogs advance to Saturday's 7A quarterfinal contest against 5th-seeded Willowbrook (11-0) in Batavia.
Northwestern-bound linebacker Michael Jansey's fumble recovery helped set up the Bulldogs' first score -- a 53-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Jack Meyers (9 of 15, 142 yards) to senior tight end Will Fitch.
The first of 8 extra-point kicks from Jackson Williams put the Bulldogs in front for good at 7-6 midway through the opening quarter.
"I'm real happy for Fitch," said Batavia coach Dennis Piron, whose team extended its winning streak to 16 dating back to October of 2017. "That got things going for us."
Defensive lineman Nico Fell's fumble recovery on Moline's next offensive series set up Art Taylor's 33-yard TD run as Batavia took a 14-6 first-quarter lead.
Fell, who blocked an extra point and added 2 tackles for loss, stuffed Moline tailback Harrison Bey-buie on a 4th-and-1 play from the Maroons' 39 late in the first quarter.
Two plays into the second quarter, Williams' 27-yard field goal extended the lead to 17-6.
"He's difficult to deal with at nose guard," Piron said of Fell. "He's pretty quick, too. For a 275-pounder, he can move."
The Urwiler brothers combined for Batavia's next score.
Three plays after Quinn Urwiler's fumble recovery, sophomore Trey Urwiler's 28-yard TD pass reception from Meyers made it 24-6.
Quinn Urwiler's 19-yard TD run with 51 seconds remaining in the first half capped a 4-play, 63-yard drive that featured the Bulldogs' "jumbo" package.
"We ran our hurry-up series but it was unusual because we used our heavy set with Jansey and (Luke) Weerts," said Piron. "Usually, it's 5-wide and passing but it was a run series with no timeouts. I told them, 'If you guys get on the ball quickly, we can run this whole sequence.' They did a great job."
Batavia sealed the deal with a pair of touchdowns during the first 32 seconds of the third quarter.
On the first play from scrimmage in the second half, Quinn Urwiler (7 carries, 120 yards) scored on a 69-yard TD run to make it 38-13.
Two plays after Nick Rempert's fumble recovery on the ensuing kickoff -- Moline's fifth turnover of the contest -- Meyers tossed a 10-yard TD pass to Zack Weber to extend the lead to 45-13.
"To be able to get two touchdowns right off the bat in the (second) half is tremendous," said Quinn Urwiler. "It puts the other team back on their heels."
Jansey's 1-yard TD plunge and Payton Anselme's 12-yard TD run capped the Bulldogs' scoring.