Taylor turns tide decisively for DuKane co-champ Batavia
In all likelihood, Batavia football coach Dennis Piron is going to let Art Taylor slide for a lost fumble.
"He'll forgive me," said Taylor, who scored a pair of touchdowns on the ground while adding another through the air in the Bulldogs' 28-3 DuKane Conference victory over Wheaton North Friday night in Batavia. "The third play of the game was a freak accident."
Taylor, however, more than atoned for the Bulldogs' lone turnover in assuming the role of the driving force behind the latest game-clinching league championship for Batavia.
Taylor, who finished with 180 yards rushing on 29 time-consuming carries, and Batavia wide receiver Trey Urwiler turned what appeared to be a defensive struggle into a one-sided victory for the Bulldogs.
Batavia (7-2, 6-1) was in the process of continuing its final drive of a scoreless first quarter when Urwiler tight-ropped the right sideline with a fourth-down catch for 11 yards to move the chains.
Taylor had the first of his scores with a 14-yard run around right end on the next play.
"It it were not for that fourth-down catch, I would never have had the opportunity to score," Taylor said. "We are always playing for each other."
"This whole game was for the seniors," said Urwiler, whose improbable, acrobatic catch for a score in the last nine seconds of the opening half enabled Batavia to take a 14-3 lead into the break.
The Falcons (4-5, 2-5) never seemed to recover as Batavia forced three consecutive three-and-outs after Wheaton North received the second-half kickoff.
Wheaton North had its season come to a close after playing admirably on its own defensive side of the ball in the opening half.
The Falcons not only recovered the Taylor miscue but also closed down a pair of deep Batavia drives with fourth-down stops.
But starting field position would be a central nemesis for the Falcons the entire game.
On six different occasions, Wheaton North started at its own 20-yard line or worse.
"It made it a little bit harder," Wheaton North quarterback Mark Forcucci said. "But at the end of the day, that's no excuse."
The Taylor touchdown reception from Kyle Oroni was a masterfully designed play.
"It was a hesitation route," Taylor said of his 11-yard pass play on a circular move out of the backfield. "It was more of a hidden play."
Taylor later high-stepped his way into the end zone from 28 yards out to match his jersey number for the final points of the game.
The only points for Wheaton North came on a Gabe Parker 40-yard field goal four plays after Forcucci hit Ben Bonga with a 39-yard reception in heavy traffic with 66 seconds to play before half.