Wheaton Warrenville South hands Batavia its 1st loss
Wheaton Warrenville South's loss to Wheaton North last week left a sizable dent on the Tigers heading into practice.
A week of renewed focus and energy apparently made all the difference.
The visiting Tigers forced six Batavia turnovers and shut out the Bulldogs until the final seven seconds of the game in a stunning 30-7 DuKane Conference victory on Friday night.
"We felt like we had a pretty good showing coming into the game [last week]. We needed to show how good these kids can be," WW South coach Ron Muhitch said. "To their credit, they responded well [and] rebounded.
"To Batavia's credit, they're playing without their starting quarterback [Kyle Oroni]. It was a shame to see that kid [on crutches] on the coin toss. That makes a difference in who they are," Muhitch continued. "But, our kids came to play today."
On Batavia's second possession, Tigers senior cornerback Max Wilson intercepted Batavia quarterback Trey Urwiler. After a punt, Urwiler was intercepted again, this time by junior Danny Healy. On a 17-play drive, the Tigers got in the end zone on a 3-yard touchdown by Eddie Robinson for a 7-0 lead with 7:21 remaining in the first quarter.
"I think we had a different type of mentality [at practice]," said Healy said, who had his first interception on the season. "We were coming out to get back into the conference race. We came out, practiced as hard as we could every single day and it was awesome to be in there with my guys. We all have the same goal."
On the ensuing possession, Urwiler improvised on a punt, which the Tigers (3-1, 3-1) stuffed, and allowed excellent field position for quarterback Parker Brown's 16-yard touchdown to tight end Tyler Fawcett and a 14-0 advantage.
Batavia (3-1, 3-1) began to generate some momentum, but Urwiler's completion to Jack LaCasse was fumbled and recovered by senior outside linebacker Max Draus for Batavia's third turnover of the half. Tigers backup kicker Ben Berkley made a 30-yard field goal for a 17-0 Tigers lead into the half.
"This defense is so special ... putting hats to the football; everyone getting to the ball [and] making plays," Healy said. "We're getting to the ball."
Bulldogs running back AJ Sanders fumbled on Batavia's second half opening drive, which was recovered by Healy. The Tigers punted and then stopped Batavia on 4th-and-5 at midfield. Brown later found Kaleb Clousing for a 20-yard touchdown for a 23-0 lead. The extra point was blocked.
With 7:29 left in the fourth quarter, Batavia was approaching the red zone, but Phillips fumbled and DJ Almada returned it within the red zone. Robinson then barged into the end zone for a 30-0 lead.
Brown finished 13-of-17 for 137 yards and two touchdowns. Robinson had 72 yards and two touchdowns.
Batavia's lone score came with seven seconds left on Urwiler's 23-yard touchdown to LaCasse.
The Bulldogs' rushing attack, which averaged 227 combined rushing yards the previous three weeks, sustained 200 yards against the starting Tigers defense, but the turnovers sunk them.
Urwiler went 3-of-10 passing for 18 yards, and also had 30 yards rushing.
For Batavia, it was its fewest points since a 7-0 victory over St. Charles East in 2017. The previous season, the Bulldogs scored seven in a 28-7 loss to the Saints in the 2016.
"I don't want to take anything away from them ... for them to come back from last week's game, they were, I am certain, distraught about that loss last week," Batavia coach Dennis Piron said. "For them to bounce back and play this well this week, that's really something.
"I think we really felt like [if] we could get off to a good start, that would be really tough on them. And, in fact, things flipped around. They got off a good start and we couldn't punch it in. I feel bad for our kids. I know we had a number of kids [who] played like warriors."