Batavia dominates Thornwood
Kyle Oroni had a measure of empathy for his opposite number, Thornwood quarterback Jalen Cunningham, on Saturday.
"Putting pressure on the quarterback makes it a whole different game," the Batavia starter said after the Bulldogs' defense dropped Cunningham five times behind the line of scrimmage for 35 yards in losses. "It makes the offense's job much easier when the defense is successful."
Seventh-seeded Batavia dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage in handling Thornwood 49-8 in Class 7A football first-round action.
The Bulldogs (8-2) earned a second straight postseason home date and will host No. 10 Rockton Hononegah next weekend.
Thornwood, the No. 26 seed, finished the year at 5-5.
Batavia dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball in its running-clock victory.
Quinn Urwiler, the Bulldogs' two-way star, returned from a three-game absence with destructive intent.
"I had to get a checkup with the team doctor," Urwiler said.
Thornwood would have wished for a negative finding.
Urwiler scored the Bulldogs' first touchdown -- after Art Taylor did all the dirty work with 40 yards on 7 carries -- the first time he touched the ball.
The North Dakota recruit later added an interception and one of the Bulldogs' five sacks.
Taylor continued his offensive onslaught with three more ground scores as the senior tailback gained 126 of his game-high 145 yards before halftime.
Batavia was in firm control at the break with its 35-0 lead.
Trey Urwiler took a cue from his older brother as the junior wide receiver motored 50 yards down the left sideline after hauling in a short Oroni pass in the flat for his only reception of the game.
Oroni also capped the Bulldogs' 21-point first quarter with an 8-yard scoring connection with Jack Valente.
Two plays earlier, Oroni rumbled 39 yards on his lone rush of the afternoon.
Josh Costello was a force from his defensive end position as the junior accounted for two of the Bulldogs' five sacks.
"It was a group rush," Costello said. "We made (Cunningham) step up in the pocket. We did a great job of turning the corner and getting a back shoulder on the quarterback."
Punter Jake Holcombe was given the day off by the Batavia offense as Taylor initiated the running clock with his 18-yard burst early in the third quarter.
Reserve running back Myke James' plunge from a yard out completed the Bulldogs' scoring.
Thornwood, 2-16 in its last two seasons, had an Eric Tyner consolation score in the waning minutes to avert the shutout.
"We just lost to a better football program, a state-championship-caliber team," Thornwood coach Ken Smith said.